National Science Foundation awards Kent State researcher nearly $1 million for liquid crystal studies
Trustees Research Professor Oleg Lavrentovich, PhD, a chemical physicist in Kent State’s Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystal Institute (AMLCI), recently received nearly $1 million between two grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for separate studies with potential applications in biomedical science, commercial electronics and beyond.
The larger of the two awards is a three-year, $540,000 grant for “Active colloids with tunable interactions in liquid crystals.” The study follows a 2016 project in which Lavrentovich showed how bacteria placed into a structured liquid crystal environment can be made to move in a fixed pattern and even move other microscopic materials.
The other grant is a three-year, $450,000 award from the NSF for “Electrically tunable cholesteric optical fibers.” Modern optical technology only allows for the changing of color through permanent filters, but Lavrentovich has been able to show that an electrical charge administered to a liquid crystal film between two glass plates will cause a dynamic color change. The voltage directly determines the color, allowing him to change the film’s color.