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February 4, 2004


Dr. Nicholas Abbott
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
University of Wisconsin
"Amplification of Bio/Molecular Interactions using Nanostructured Surfaces and Liquid Crystals"

Abstract.  The orientations assumed by liquid crystals near surfaces are typically controlled by a delicate balance of long-ranged (e.g., electrostatic or
elastic) and short-ranged (e.g., chemically-specific) interactions.  These interactions are defined by the structure of surfaces over a wide range of
spatial scales (0.1-1000nm).  Recent advances in the capability to define the structure of surfaces over this range of length scales has lead to
observations of new interfacial behaviors of liquid crystals and suggestions of new technological opportunities.  This talk will address the
orientational behaviors of liquid crystals on surfaces with nanometer-scale topography and well-defined organic chemical functionality.  Coupling of
the orientational behaviors of liquid crystals to redox-reactions as well as the specific binding of small molecules to surfaces will be described.
Finally, by designing interfaces with structural features commensurate with the sizes of biological molecules, the use of liquid crystals for the
reporting of biomolecules on surfaces will be discussed.  Principles for novel types of optical displays as well as chemical and biological sensors
will be described.

Vanderbilt University