Dynamically Switching Surfaces

Joerg Lahann

Professor

lahann@umich.edu

3414 GG Brown

T: (734) 763-7543

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Our research on reversibly switching surfaces was featured in an article in Science (J. Lahann, et al., A Reversibly Switching Surface, January 17, 2003, 299, 371-374.) These "smart surfaces" can reversibly switch properties in response to an external stimulus. To demonstrate these findings, a surface design was developed that can be changed from water-attracting to water-repelling with the application of a weak electric field. Designed as a switch, single-layered molecular-level machines are aligned on a surface using self-assembly and then are flipped between defined microscopic states. This type of surface design may offer a new paradigm for interfacial engineering as it amplifies reversible conformational transitions at a molecular level to macroscopic changes in surface properties without altering the chemical identity of the surface.