Orientational Behavior of Thermotropic Liquid Crystals on Surfaces Presenting Electrostatically Bound Vesicular Stomatitis Virus

Luis A.Tercero Espinoza, Kate R. Schumann, Yan Yeung Luk, Barbara A. Israel, Nicholas L. Abbott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


We report the orientational behavior of nematic phases of 4-cyano-4′-pentylbiphenyl (5CB) on cationic, anionic, and nonionic surfaces before and after contact of these surfaces with solutions containing the negatively charged vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). The surfaces were prepared on evaporated films of gold by either adsorption of poly-L-lysine (cationic) or formation of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) from HS(CH 2) 2SO 3 - (anionic) or HS(CH 2) 11(OCH 2CH 2) 4OH (nonionic). Prior to treatment with virus, we measured the initial orientation of 5CB (Δε = ε || - ε⊥ > 0) to be parallel to the cationic surfaces (planar anchoring) but perpendicular (homeotropic) after equilibration for 5 days. A similar transition from planar to homeotropic orientation of 5CB was observed on the anionic surfaces. Only planar orientations of 5CB were observed on the nonionic surfaces. Because N-(4-methoxybenzylidene)-4-butylaniline (MBBA, Δε = ε || - ε⊥ > 0) exhibited planar alignment on all surfaces, the time-dependent alignment of 5CB on the ionic surfaces is consistent with a dipolar coupling between the 5CB and electrical double layers formed at the ionic interfaces. Treatment of poly-L-lysine-coated gold films (cationic) with purified solutions of VSV containing 10 8-10 10 plaque-forming units per milliliter (pfu/mL) led to the homeotropic alignment of 5CB immediately after contact of 5CB with the surface. In contrast, treatment of anionic surfaces and nonionic surfaces with solutions of VSV containing ∼10 10 pfu/mL did not cause immediate homeotropic alignment of 5CB. These results and others suggest that homeotropic alignment of 5CB on cationic surfaces treated with VSV of titer ≥10 8 pfu/mL reflects the presence of virus electrostatically bound to these surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2375-2385
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 16 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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