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Bacteria make liquid crystal colloids and gels - Ivan Smalyukh

University of Colorado, USA


Liquid crystals are widely known for enabling many modern technologies and for controlling the exchange of information in our smart phones and displays, but many other potential applications of these interesting materials still await their development. I will discuss how we use bacteria Acetobacter Xylinum and Acetobacter Hansenii to synthesize cellulose-based nematic and cholesteric liquid crystals with highly tunable anisotropic building blocks and mesomorphic phase behavior, as well as with the capability of pre-engineering the ensuing material b ehavior. I will show that these bio-derived liquid crystals form the basis for self-assembly of colloidal and gel-like nanostructured composites with plasmonic, thermo-insulating and other unusual properties. Finally, I will discuss their potential applications ranging from nanophotonics to window efficiency and other building technologies.

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