Professor Evans said: "Within the stripes we found molecules arranged into hemi-cylindrical columns each several microns long, which we believe to be the highest level of control over DLC alignment to date. We also found that the narrower the stripes, the better the ordered the columns."
The team are hopeful that this level of control could lead to the development of a new type of biosensor, which could test for anything that alters the surface properties.
"By changing the surface properties we can get switch between alignments which is very interesting from the point of view or sensing devices," added Professor Evans. "Most biosensors require a backlight to see when a change has occurred, but it is very easy to see when a liquid crystal has changed direction you just hold it up to the light.
"This opens up great possibilities for the production of very simple and, more importantly, cheap biosensors that could be widely used in the developing world."
The team are now testing the conductivity of these wires in the hope that they could be used for energy transfer in molecular systems. They are also looking at ways to polymerise the wires to make them stronger.
|Contact: Hannah Isom|
University of Leeds