Dutch researcher Johan Hoogboom has developed a technique for making LCDs (liquid crystal displays) without the need for cleanrooms. This technique is simpler and cheaper than current methods and is based entirely upon the self-ordering of molecules on a surface. Furthermore, the chemist has shown that these LCDs can be used to make DNA visible to the naked eye.
Hoogboom constructed a surface that can align liquid-crystal molecules. For this he designed and produced an aromatic chemical compound. When this was applied to the surface used for the manufacture of LCDs, the molecules automatically organised themselves into a regular pattern. These surfaces could then align liquid crystals, which is a requirement for the construction of LCDs.
Furthermore, the researcher used these surfaces to produce a new generation of biosensors. Hoogboom demonstrated that the aligned liquid crystals could be used to make the effect of an enzyme or the presence of certain types of DNA visible, without the need for extra equipment. This opens up the way for a new generation of biosensors, which can analyse materials on the spot.
Drs Johan Hoogboom | alfa
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