Liquid crystals are used in everything from tiny digital watches to huge television screens, from optical devices to biomedical detectors. Yet little is known of their precise molecular structure when portions of such crystals interact with air.
New research led by Juan de Pablo, professor at the Institute for Molecular Engineering, uncovers previously unknown features that develop from the interface between air and certain widely studied liquid crystals.
“Liquid crystals are high-fidelity reporters of molecular events, and their effectiveness relies on controlling their molecular orientation at an interface,” de Pablo says. “The precise understanding of this interface gained from our research will enable the design of better liquid crystal sensors and displays.”
For the research published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, de Pablo worked with a team of scientists at the University of Chicago, including Binhua Lin and Benoit Roux, and at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Wisconsin. They used advanced synchrotron X-rays at Argonne National Laboratory and large-scale simulations to reconstruct the molecular details.
Liquid crystals exist in a state between liquids and solids, allowing them to flow like a liquid but also have some properties of a solid. Their molecules have a rod-like structure that can be organized in various ways.
Certain liquid crystals go through phase transitions in response to changes in temperature. In the nematic phase, the rod-like molecules line up in a disorderly yet parallel fashion. In the smectic phase, they also line up in parallel—but in organized layers.An example of liquid crystals in the nematic phase, in which their rod-like molecules line up in a disorderly yet parallel fashion. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
“Our research revealed a number of previously unknown features,” de Pablo says. “For example, our findings indicate that the interface imprints a highly ordered, solid-like structure into the liquid crystal material.
“This structure then propagates well into the bulk of the liquid crystal, particularly for nematic and smectic phases.”Liquid crystals may see earliest signs of Alzheimer’s
The research found similar characteristics between widely studied liquid crystals nematic 4-pentyl-4′-cyanobiphenyl and smectic 4-octyl- 4′-cyanobiphenyl. Both align perpendicularly at the air-liquid crystals interface and exhibit well-defined, surface-induced layers at the interface.
When both were heated to a fully liquid phase, only a single layer of structured molecules was formed at the interface between the liquid and the air.
The researchers plan to study the interfaces of liquid crystals and aqueous electrolytes to understand the effects of electrostatic interactions and the liquid crystal orientational ordering.
“These results will be particularly important in guiding the design of responsive liquid crystal interfaces for sensing chemicals and biological molecules,” the paper concludes.
Source: University of Chicago
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Republic Records told The Verge that Drake's new album More Life was streamed 300 million times worldwide in its first week on Apple Music. It has already eclipsed his previous album, Views, which was an Apple Music exclusive and streamed around 250 million times in its first week. More Life also streamed 89.9 million times during its first 24 hours, breaking single-day album streaming records for all music services.
The numbers for Drake's More Life are impressive in another way – the album is also available on Spotify, which has 100 million subscribers compared to Apple Music's 20 million. The Apple Music team puts the success of the release down to Drake's close collaboration with Beats 1 and his OVO Sound Radio show. The show has debuted several Drake records, including More Life on the most recent episode, which set the record for the most listened-to show.
"What we saw on Drake's radio show were TV numbers," Iovine told The Verge. "We learned so much from just building what Drake needed. He had the idea, we kind of just built and supported around him, and we've learned a lot from that, and the entire industry has learned a lot from that."Jackson called Beats 1 "the biggest radio station in the world" and boasted that there wasn't another station in existence that has as many concurrent listeners, (although Apple declined to offer specific listener numbers).
"If you rewind back to July of 2015, and those records that rolled out like 'Back to Back,' — 'Hotline Bling' debuted on OVO Sound Radio first, 'Charged Up' debuted there first — all these records debuted in a space that was really still new and nascent, and [Drake] made it his own. You can glance over it, but we created this idea that was really great for him, and he took advantage of it," Jackson said. "Drake and Oliver and [Drake's other co-manager] Future [The Prince] were the first to do this with us."Zane Lowe, head of Beats 1, said that what Drake had taught him in terms of the parameters of broadcasting was remarkable. "He knows what he's doing, and he knows his audience," said Lowe. "And he knows it's going to work when it's ready. The best thing that anyone — including myself — can do is get out of the way."
Kondrk described the relationship between Apple Music and Beats 1 like an amusement park — once users are inside the Apple Music app to listen to Beats 1, he said it was "only natural you'll stay in it to stream the songs afterwards".
"The music is debuting through OVO Sound Radio first, no one really ever leaves the amusement park, and that's why the numbers make sense," Kondrk says. "It's a new paradigm that we've really created here for someone like him to come in and be a genius and take full advantage of everything we have to offer."Speaking more generally, Iovine reiterated his belief that Apple Music can't become just a "utility" and that the company had to stay nimble, while working with artists like Drake was key to avoiding that distinction. "Two years ago, people would've thought we were crazy with what we were doing with Drake. And we are starting things with other people that in two years will look as interesting as this."
You can read the full article over on The Verge.
Tags: Apple Music, Drake, Beats 1
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