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Novel Colloidal and Dynamic Interfacial Phenomena in Liquid Crystalline Systems

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Final rept. 21 May 2010-20 May 2014

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Fundamental processes involving the assembly of molecular amphiphiles and nanomicroparticles at the interfaces of isotropic liquids have been widely studied over the past century, and knowledge that emerged from these past studies has impacted a broad range of technologies of relevance to DoD e.g., design of emulsions for decontamination, or design of interfaces for chemical and biological detection. The investigation supported by this grant moved beyond past studies of interfacial and colloidal phenomena involving isotropic liquids to explore and understand a range of new phenomena that take place at the interfaces of anisotropic liquids, namely liquid crystals. The program of research unmasked new behaviors of molecular amphiphiles and micronanoparticles at the interfaces of liquid crystals. The study revealed that the ordering of a liquid crystal can mediate new types of interactions between interfacial adsorbates molecular and particulate, leading to new phase states and the ability to drive dynamic interfacial events with a level of control that is not possible with isotropic liquids. These results have the potential to impact, in the long term, strategies for materials synthesis, stabilization of emulsions, design of stimuli-responsive materials, creation of tunable plasmonic metamaterials, as well as the interfacial design of chemical and biological sensors.

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  • Physical Chemistry

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