by Piotr Popov

Institution: Kent State University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Physics; Physical Chemistry; Experiments; Biophysics; Molecules; liquid crystal sensor, liquid crystals, fluid interfaces,liquid interfaces, liquid surfaces, biosensor, molecular dynamicssimulation
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2097260
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=kent1434926908


Interfacial phenomena are ubiquitous and extremely important in various aspects of biological and industrial processes. For example, many liquid crystal applications start by alignment with a surface. The underlying mechanisms of the molecular organization of liquid crystals at an interface are still under intensive study and continue to be important to the display industry in order to develop better and/or new display technology.My dissertation research has been devoted to studying how complex liquid crystals can be guided to organize at an interface, and to using my findings to develop practical applications. Specifically, I have been working on developing biosensors using liquid-crystal/surfactant/lipid/protein interactions as well as the alignment of low-symmetry liquid crystals for potential new display and optomechanical applications. The biotechnology industry needs better ways of sensing biomaterials and identifying various nanoscale events at biological interfaces and in aqueous solutions. Sensors in which the recognition material is a liquid crystal naturally connects the existing knowledge and experience of the display and biotechnology industries together with surface and soft matter sciences.This dissertation thus mainly focuses on the delicate phenomena that happen at liquid interfaces. In the introduction, I start by defining the interface and discuss its structure and the relevant interfacial forces. I then introduce the general characteristics of biosensors and, in particular, describe the design of biosensors that employ liquid crystal/aqueous solution interfaces. I further describe the basic properties of liquid crystal materials that are relevant for liquid crystal-based biosensing applications.In CHAPTER 2, I describe the simulation methods and experimental techniques used in this dissertation.In CHAPTER 3 and CHAPTER 4, I present my computer simulation work. CHAPTER 3 presents insight of how liquid crystal molecules are aligned by hydrocarbon surfaces at the atomic level. I show that the vertical alignment of a rod-like liquid crystal molecule first requires its insertion into the alignment layer. In CHAPTER 4, I investigate the Brownian behavior of a tracer molecule at an oil/water interface and explain the experimentally-observed anomaly of its increased mobility.Following my molecular dynamics simulation studies of liquid interfaces, I continue my work in CHAPTER 5 with experimental research. I employ the high sensitivity of liquid crystal alignment to the presence of amphiphiles adsorbed to the liquid crystal surface from water for potential biosensor applications. I propose a more accurate method of sensing using circular polarization and spectrophotometry. In CHAPTER 6, I investigate if cholesteric and smectic liquid crystals can potentially offer new modes of biosensing. In CHAPTER 7, I describe preliminary results toward constructing a liquid crystal biosensor platform with capabilities of specific sensitivity using proteins and antibodies. Finally in CHAPTER 8, I summarize the findings… Advisors/Committee Members: Mann, Elizabeth (Committee Chair), Jákli, Antal (Committee Co-Chair).