Levich Institute Seminar Announcement, 12/13/2005

Tuesday, 12/13/2005
2:00 PM
Steinman Hall, Room #312
(Chemical Engineering Conference Room)

Professor Peter Palffy-Muhoray
Kent State University
Liquid Crystal Institute

"Swimming into the Dark: Light Induced Shape Changes in Liquid Crystal Elastomers "

[This is a CCNY/Columbia NSF-IGERT Soft Materials seminar]


Liquid crystal elastomers are 'solid' liquid crystals; they are rubbers whose constituents are orientationally ordered. The coupling between orientational order and mechanical strain makes these materials unusually responsive. Light induced effects are particularly intriguing. Illumination can produce large and fast shape changes, as well as other unusual pheonomena. I will describe our experiments with these materials, discuss the underlying physics, and consider applications. I will also outline approaches to modeling the dynamic response of these materials to various excitations.


Palffy-Muhoray received his Ph.D. (1977) in Physics from the University of British Columbia. He joined the LCI staff in 1987. He is Professor of Chemical Physics and LCI Associate Director for basic research.


His areas of expertise include nonlinear optics, pattern formation, and nonequilibrium phenomena in liquid crystals.