Liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) are crosslinked polymer networks made from liquid crystal (LC) monomers. Inheriting the phase transition behavior and the alignment control of liquid crystals, LCE materials demonstrate unusual mechanical properties and stimuli-responsive behavior. For example, when heated through nematic to isotropic transition temperature, monodomian LCEs undergo contraction along the nematic director, converting thermal energy to mechanical work.
Elise studies liquid crystal polymer network materials through synthesis, characterization and modeling. In particular, she is interested in reversible networks employing dynamic covalent chemistry and the shape memory properties of LCEs.
Chuqiao Chen (Elise), was born and raised in Beijing, China. She attended Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan and graduated with a B.S. degree of Chemistry in 2018. While in college, she worked on antifouling surface coatings through Amgen Scholars Program at UTokyo and cellulose nanocrystal composite materials while exchanging at UChicago. She came back to the Pritzker School of Moledcular Engineering, UChicago as a graduate student in 2018 co-advised by Prof. Rowan and Prof. de Pablo. In her spare time, Elise enjoys tap dancing and playing the piano.