May 19, 2021

Unexpected ‘Black Swan’ defect discovered in soft matter for first time

Posted by in categories: biological, materials

In new research, Texas A&M University scientists have for the first time revealed a single microscopic defect called a “twin” in a soft-block copolymer using an advanced electron microscopy technique. This defect may be exploited in the future to create materials with novel acoustic and photonic properties.

“This defect is like a black swan—something special going on that isn’t typical,” said Dr. Edwin Thomas, professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. “Although we chose a certain polymer for our study, I think the twin defect will be fairly universal across a bunch of similar soft matter systems, like oils, surfactants, and natural polymers. Therefore, our findings will be valuable to diverse research across the soft matter field.”

The results of the study are detailed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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