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Program Highlights for year 2007

Photo-Control of Interfacial Molecular Organization

Active interface architectures, exhibiting structural sensitivity to the presence of chemical species or light, are of interest for sensor and functional nanostructure applications. LCMRC researchers have demonstrated that it is possible to use liquid crystals to read out the state of a photoactive monolayer with great sensitivity to the incident wavelength.

Bistable Orientaton of Liquid Crystals on Nanoimprinted Topography

Modern liquid crystal displays (LCDs) operate by achieving a desired orientation of the LC molecules within the display. LCMRC researchers have demonstrated that topographic surface patterns made by nanoimprinting can produce exotic surface alignment of LCs, including bistable orientations (NE or NW) generated by an array of nanoscale boxes on the surface, as shown in the figure.

Liquid Crystals of nanoDNA

LCMRC researchers have discovered that solutions in water of pieces of DNA only a few nanometers long (nanoDNA) can form liquid crystal phases if the DNA is complementary, that is if it can form double-helixed pairs. These duplex pairs then stack up end-to-end to form rod-shaped aggregates that make the liquid crystal phases.

Research Experience for Teachers program is a springboard to ongoing relationships with local schools

After spending two summers participating in the Research Experience for Teachers Program at MIT's MRSEC, Ms. Julie O'Loughlin, a science teacher at Breed Middle School in Lynn, MA, brings her eighth-grade classes to CMSE to share the exciting research being done at the Center.

Engineered Evolution of Inorganic-Binding Peptides

Based on the similarity of the sequences of combinatorially selected peptide that have similar binding characteristics, we developed a bioinformatics approach that provides a general and simple methodology to quantitatively categorize a large number of inorganic binding peptides.

Nonequilibrium Synthesis and Assembly of Hybrid Inorganic-Protein Nanostructures Using an Engineered DNA Binding Protein

Chemical Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, and Microbiology, University of Washington We show that a protein with no intrinsic inorganic synthesis activity can be endowed with the ability to control the formation of inorganic nanostructures under thermodynamically unfavorable (nonequilibrium) conditions, reproducing a key feature of biological hard-tissue growth and assembly.

14th Insulating Materials Conference

The Oklahoma-Arkansas MRSEC hosted the14th SIMC conference which engaged international participation from a diverse group of more than 30 nations. The technical sessions presented over 5 days with parallel sessions encompassed the transfer of many new and developing ideas, and the talks received the highest evaluation as indicated by the results of the conference survey.

Narrow Gap Semiconductor Structures for Electronic Device Applications

The explosion of interest in graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms, has called attention to the advantages of materials with small effective masses. In our InSb quantum wells, the electron effective mass is as small as in graphene while the room-temperature