Biological sensing with liquid crystalLiquid-crystal–based biosensors utilize the high sensitivity of liquid-crystal alignment to the presence of amphiphiles adsorbed to one of the liquid-crystal surfaces from water. They offer inexpensive, easy optical detection of biologically relevant molecules such as lipids, proteins, and cells. The techniques use linear or circular polarizers to analyze the alignment of the liquid crystal.
Magneto-optic properties of dimeric liquid crystal moleculesUsing a new class of bent-core mesogens, odd-numbered methylene-linked liquid crystalline dimers, which are flexible in the core and rigid on the ends, similar to chainsticks (nunchuks), as well as a state-of-the-art high-field split-helix resistive solenoid magnet, we have been able to observe significantly different phase transition behaviour as well as magneto-optical properties.
Liquid crystal elastomersIn a recently published report, we fabricated smart assemblies with functional resemblance to gecko toe pads at both the skin and the muscle levels. Integrative soft-lithography was used for micro- texturing of liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) thin films as artificial muscles. LCEs were chosen as they possess features of both rubbers (elasticity) and liquid crystals (responsiveness) with outstanding shape shifting characteristics. Prior to this work, LCEs were used in a variety of forms ranging from simple bending actuators to accordion-like ribbons and sophisticated voxelated 3D structures.
Responsive liquid crystal/polymer fibersAirbrushing of a homogeneous LC and polymer solution to make LC/polymer as well electro-spinning and force spinning are techniques via which piezoelectric and responsive finers are obtained.
Fluid dynamics of bent-core liquid crystal filaments Newtonian fluids show elastic responses only at free surfaces due to surface tension. In filament form, they experience a Plateau-Rayleigh instability when their length L is larger than their perimeter. Fluids with one- and two-dimensional internal molecular order, such as columnar and smectic liquid crystals, may overcome the P-R instability to form stable, free-standing liquid filaments. In particular, stable filaments can be formed by achiral bent-core liquid crystals with nanoscale modulated smectic and columnar (B7) phases. They can be considered as 1-D fluid structures exhibiting high slenderness ratios greater than 10000.