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Contact: Evan Lerner
University of Pennsylvania

Collage of Liquid Crystal Gemstones

Caption: Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore College describe new research into a type of liquid crystal that dissolves in water rather than avoids it as do the oily liquid crystals found in displays. This property means that these liquid crystals hold potential for biomedical applications, where their changing internal patterns could signal the presence of specific proteins or other biological macromolecules. These patterns are dependent on the concentration of liquid crystal molecules inside water droplets; at very high concentrations, they pull on the surface of the drop, deforming it from a sphere into these faceted gemstone shapes.

Credit: University of Pennsylvania.

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Related news release: Liquid crystal turns water droplets into 'gemstones,' Penn materials research shows

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