Type of Thesis
The organic molecule Sunset Yellow, a chromonic dye, and reverse Dickerson dodecamer DNA, a self-complementary, 12 base pair strand of nucleic acids, both self-assemble into rod shaped aggregates that exhibit liquid crystal phases in solution. The sunset yellow molecules and the nano-DNA duplexes have similar structure with hydrophobic cores and peripheral hydrophilic ions. The focus of this research is on mixtures of these two aggregates in miscible liquid crystal states and the phase separation that occurs at higher concentrations in the columnar phase. The structure and phase space of this mixture was determined using polarized optical microscopy and x-ray diffraction. In the columnar phase, these mixtures provide experimental data on the two-dimensional arrangement of binary, hard disks. Moreover, studying these mixtures will further the understanding of polymer, liquid crystal mixtures. Our results demonstrate selectivity in DNA aggregation, supporting the hypothesis that liquid crystal ordering auto-catalyzed the polymerization of nucleic acids before the biological mechanisms responsible for assembly existed.
Theis, Joseph, "Liquid crystal phase behavior of a DNA dodecamer and Sunset Yellow" (2017). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 1501.
Biochemistry Commons, Biological and Chemical Physics Commons, Biophysics Commons, Condensed Matter Physics Commons, Nucleic Acids, Nucleotides, and Nucleosides Commons, Optics Commons, Polymer and Organic Materials Commons