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Liquid Crystal Research Earns Kent State Professor Outstanding Research and Scholar Award

Posted June 11, 2012 | Jessica Smeltz
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Kent State faculty member in the Chemical
Physics Interdisciplinary Program and Liquid
Crystal Institute® Antal Jakli, Ph.D., received
an Outstanding Research and Scholar Award
for his liquid crystal research.

Antal Jakli, Ph.D., Kent State faculty member in the Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program since 2004 and a member of the Liquid Crystal Institute® staff since 1999, recently received an Outstanding Research and Scholar Award for his work in electro-optical, electro-mechanical and rheological properties of ferroelectric liquid crystals.

The Outstanding Research and Scholar Awards recognize outstanding faculty members for their notable scholarly contributions that have brought acknowledgement to their fields of study and to Kent State.

Jakli’s research focuses on liquid crystals from bent-shape molecules, which are considered rare, as well as working on polymer fiber mats and phospholipids that make the biological cell membranes. He focuses a lot on liquid crystal’s electro-optical and electro-mechanical properties. This means that he studies what happens to their optical and mechanical properties when electrical fields are applied on them and vice-versa. He also studies induced electric signals when they are illuminated by light or deformed mechanically.

These effects are important in sensors, actuators electric generations with light and mechanical deformations. They have uses in everyday life, anywhere from organic photovoltaics, to wearable micro power generators, as well as finding out how animals can navigate using magnetic fields.

“I am very passionate about ferroelectric and piezoelectric liquid crystals and related systems,” says Jakli. “I am also grateful that I am able to work with so many great scientists at Kent State in the Liquid Crystal Institute and in the Department of Physics and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry."

Along with being an associate editor of Physics Review E, Jakli has more than 160 articles in top journals of the world with more than2,100 citations and 14 patents. Sole author for a Luckhurst-Samulski prize-winning summary paper in 2010, he has organized several international conferences on ferroelectric liquid crystals.

Jakli has placed undergraduate and graduate students into laboratories outside of the United States with help from a National Science Foundation grant. These placements are an increasingly important part of educating students in a globally integrated world.

“Professor Jakli is a great person to work with. His research has provided new understanding of the physical properties of ‘exotic’ phases of mater,” says fellow Chemical Physics Professor Phil Bos. “His interest and ability to explain the complex behavior of liquid crystal materials at the collective molecular level, along with his fascinating and thought-provoking scientific lectures are essential to Kent State.”

Jakli and other researchers are currently working on the continuation of the projects supported through two National Science Foundation grants.

For more information about the Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program where Jakli works, visit www.kent.edu/cas/cpip.