Januar 17, 2014
By demonstrating just that tiny particles injected into a liquid crystal medium adhere to existing mathematical theorems, physicists in the University of Colorado Boulder have opened that the door for the creation to a host to new materials with properties that do not exist in nature.
The findings show that researchers can certainly produce a “the paleo recipe book review” to build new materials of sorts using topology, a major mathematical field that describes that the properties which don’t change when an object is stretched, bent or otherwise “continuously deformed.” Published online Dec. 23 in the journal Nature, the study also is the first to experimentally show that a few of the most significant topological theorems hold up in the real material world, said CU-Boulder physics department Assistant Professor Ivan Smalyukh, a study elder author.
The research could create upgrades in liquid crystal displays, like many used in laptops and television screens, to permit them to activate with light as part of emerging as well as ways. One possibility is to create liquid crystal displays that are more energy efficient, Smalyukh said, extending the battery life for the devices they’re attached to.
The research was loaned in part by Smalyukh’s Presidential Early position Award for Scientists and technicians, that he received from President Barack Obama in 2010. And the study supports the goals organized by the White House’s contents Genome move, Smalyukh said, which seeks to deploy “new advanced materials at least two times as fast possible today, at a fraction of the cost.”
Smalyukh, postdoctoral research worker Bohdan Senyuk, and doctoral student Qingkun Liu set up the experiment by creating colloids – solutions in and little particles are spread out, but not dissolved, throughout a host medium. Colloids are common in everyday life and include substances such as milk, jelly, paint, smoke, fog and shaving cream.
Concerning this study, the physicists manufactured a colloid by injecting little particles into a liquid crystal – per content that behaves somewhat which include a solution and somewhat like a solid. The researchers injected differently shaped particles your represent fundamental building-block models in topology. That means every one of the particles is distinct starting the others and a person cannot be turned into the other without cutting or gluing. Objects that browse differently can however be considered the equivalent in topology if one can be turned to the other by extending or bending – type of “continuous deformations.”
In the area of topology, for example, one object shaped like a donut and an object shaped similar to a coffee cup are treated the same. That’s because a donut shape can be “continuously deformed” into a coffee cup by indenting one side of the donut. But a donut-shaped object cannot stay turned into a celestial sphere or a cylinder because the hole in the donut will have to be eliminated by “gluing” the sides of the donut back together or possibly by “cutting” the side of the donut.
Once injected into a liquid crystal, the particles behaved as predicted by topology. “Our study shows that interaction between particles and molecular alignment in water crystals follows the predictions of topological theorems, creating it possible to incorporate these theorems in designing new composite materials with unique properties that cannot be seen in nature or synthesized by chemists,” Smalyukh said. “These findings lay the groundwork for new applications in experimental studies of low-dimensional topology, with important potential ramifications at many branches of science and technology.”
The analysis was co-authored to Sailing He of Zhejiang University in China; Randall Kamien and Tom Lubensky of the college of Pennsylvania, plus Robert Kusner of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.