Anny Huang

Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2006

Capstone Advisor

Professor Yan-Yeung Luk

Honors Reader

Dr. James Dabrowiak

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Sciences and Engineering

Subject Categories

Biochemistry | Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology


Traditional lyotropic liquid crystals are composed of amphiphilic molecules forming assemblies in water. Disodium cromoglycate (cromolyn or DSCG) – an antiasthmatic drug – is a novel and unusual lyotropic liquid crystal because it is not amphiphilic, and yet, it exhibits large birefringence (shininess) when dissolved in water forming lyotropic liquid crystal. In the work, DSCG liquid crystal is doped with different types of salt such as sodium chloride and sodium perchlorate, and the response in the changes of birefringence and liquid crystal transition temperature is studied. We find that addition of certain type of salts enhance the propensity of formation of liquid crystal phase of DSCG, whereas other type inhibit the formation of liquid crystal. This discovery is pleasantly perplexing because it contradicts the general observation that addition of salt often disrupts the tendency of structure formation – for example, spreading salt in the winter time to help melt the ice on the roadway. In another effort to control the structural organization of the molecules within this liquid crystal phase – so-called liquid crystal orientation, I synthesized oligo-ethylene glycol (OEG)-terminated alkanethiols and overlay them to form self-assembled monolayers (SAM) on a nanostructured gold film. We use this unique combination of chemistry and surface nanotopography to control the liquid crystal orientation. The hypothesis, promising results and interpretation will be presented. Because of DSCG is an antiasthmatic drug and has been shown not to denature protein folding at the concentrations that give rise to liquid crystal phases, this work imparts both fundamental understanding of a novel liquid crystal and explore application of detecting presence of toxic ions and protein binding events

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Included in

Biochemistry Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.