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Center Researchers identify the Ferroelectric Nematic Phase (June 2020)

Center researchers have identified a liquid crystal that has the long sought-after ferroelectric nematic phase. Ferroelectric behavior has been observed previously in tilted chiral smectics and in bent-core smectics but a polar nematic phase has proven elusive for more than 100 years. The ferroelectric nematic responds readily to applied electric fields and displays a host of novel electrooptic and hydrodynamic properties. (6/20)

This research was published in X. Chen et al., PNAS 117, 14021 (2020). The article is accompanied by a Commentary by Oleg Lavrentovich.

Physics World rated this discovery as one of the Top 10 " Breakthroughs of the Year" for 2020.

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Center Researcher develops Glass-Polymer Hybrid Metamaterial for Daytime Radiative Cooling (February 2017)

Center seed investigator Xiaobo Yin (second from right) and a team of University of Colorado Boulder engineers have developed a scalable manufactured metamaterial – an engineered material with extraordinary properties not found in nature – to act as a kind of air conditioning system for structures. It has the ability to cool objects even under direct sunlight with zero energy and water consumption. (2/17)

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Center Researchers create New Tool in the Field of DNA/RNA Mimetics (February 2016)

Center researchers have demonstrated the synthesis of a variety of nucleobase-containing monomers using click chemistry and taking advantage of both radically and anionically mediated polymerization mechanisms. With these monomers, the team generated DNA-analogous oligomers with periodic nucleobase sequence motifs that exhibit sequence-specific binding and, when bound to multifunctional polymers, self-assemble into dynamic organogel materials. (2/16)
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Researchers Probe Banana Helical Nanofilaments with Resonant X-Rays (December 2015)

In a collaboration with Center scientists, researchers at the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley have directly measured the pitch of helical nanofilaments in the B4 liquid crystal phase using linearly polarized, resonant soft X-ray scattering. (12/15)
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New study hints at spontaneous appearance of primordial DNA (April 2015)

The self-organization properties of DNA-like molecular fragments four billion years ago may have guided their own growth into repeating chemical chains long enough to act as a basis for primitive life, says a new study by Center members at the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Milan. The findings suggest a novel scenario for the non-biological origins of nucleic acids, which are the building blocks of living organisms. (4/15)
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