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Ivan I. Smalyukh

Prof. Ivan I. Smalyukh

Asst. Professor of Physics
University of Colorado at Boulder

Department of Physics and Liquid Crystal Materials Research Center
390 UCB
2000 Colorado Ave
Boulder CO 80309-0390
United States

tel: 303 492 7277
fax: 303 492 2998
E-mail: Ivan.Smalyukh@Colorado.EDU
Web: http://spot.colorado.edu/~smalyukh/

Area of Expertise

Laser trapping, confocal microscopy, CARS microscopy, liquid crystals, self-assembly, nano-structured materials, biomolecular materials, and optical metamaterials


Ivan I. Smalyukh is an Asst. Professor at the Department of Physics and the Liquid Crystal Materials Research Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He holds a PhD in Chemical Physics from Kent State University and a PhD in Optics and Laser Physics from the Supreme Attestation Commission of Ukraine. He serves on the SPIE Scholarships Committee and is a secretary of the Great Lakes SPIE Regional Chapter. Professor Smalyukh has over 40 refereed publications and two chapters in books, and has been teaching graduate-level University courses and conference short courses on optical characterization techniques, liquid crystal physics, as well as electro-optic and photonic applications of liquid crystals. His contributions in the fields of liquid crystal physics and laser imaging and trapping techniques have been recognized by the Glenn H. Brown Prize of the International Liquid Crystal Society and numerous other awards, prizes, and fellowships from other International Societies. Prof. Smalyukh leads an interdisciplinary research group which utilizes and develops powerful optical imaging and laser manipulation techniques to study physics phenomena in soft condensed matter and biological systems. His scientific interests encompass molecular and colloidal self-assembly, fundamental properties of liquid crystals, Coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) polarized microscopy, confocal and two-photon fluorescence imaging, laser trapping and manipulation, electro-optic and photonic phenomena in liquid crystals, polymers, nano-structured and other functional materials, as well as their applications. Professor Ivan I. Smalyukh has chaired two International conferences in the field of optics of liquid crystals and has been an invited and plenary speaker at numerous international conferences.

Lecture Title(s)

Liquid crystal applications: from flexible displays to tunable optical metamaterials
Liquid crystals are ubiquitous and exceptionally useful materials. I will start with a brief introduction to liquid crystals and then proceed with an overview of widespread technological and biomedical applications of liquid crystal materials and devices. Many examples will be discussed throughout the lecture, such as applications of liquid crystals in displays, laser beam shaping and steering, optical spatial light modulators, light polarization control, optical metamaterials, telecommunications, tunable photonic crystals and optical filters, nano-science, optical data storage devices, light-controlled diffraction gratings, micro-pumps, biodetection, drug delivery, and others.

Controlling matter by focused beams: laser tweezers and laser shapers
Focused laser beams allow for a remarkable non-contact control that can be applied to objects as diverse as atoms, biological molecules, colloidal particles, and living cells. Optical trapping has been the instrumental technique for many scientific breakthroughs, including the experiments on cooling atoms, obtaining Bose-Einstein condensates, measuring the mechanical properties of single DNA molecules, etc. This lecture will discuss the applications of laser trapping and laser-assisted structure control in soft condensed matter and biological systems such as liquid crystals, colloids, bacterial biofilms, membranes, DNA and F-actin biopolymers, etc. Starting from the underpinning physical mechanisms, I will demonstrate that focused laser beams can be used for tweezing of variety of very different nano- and micron-sized objects. Moreover, I will also show that the polarized focused laser beams allow one to control molecular orientation patterns in the ordered soft materials such as liquid crystals. I will conclude with an overview of applications.

Seeing in 3D: confocal, two-photon flourescence, and CARS microscopy
Breakthroughs in optics, photonics, and instrumentation have triggered a new era of the optical microscopy development. Nowadays, confocal, two-photon fluorescence, and coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) microscopy are established 3D imaging techniques, which are being further developed to overcome resolution limits, to improve image contrast, and to enable novel applications. I will overview fundamentals and new developments in 3D imaging, as well as its diverse applications in biology and materials science. The comparative advantages of these imaging techniques will be discussed using particular examples, such as CARS imaging of molecular orientation structures in liquid crystals, two-photon fluorescence study of colloidal interactions, and confocal fluorescence microscopy of DNA and F-actin in biological systems. I will demonstrate that the emerging scientific frontiers in the field of non-invasive 3D imaging show an exceptional promise of significant new discovery and of new applications that become possible only now, after the recent breakthroughs in optics and nanoscience.

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