Aug 30, 2018
Professor Thomas Mason

Professor Thomas Mason and alumnus Dr Po-Yuan Wang have created lithographically pre-assembled monolayers of mobile Brownian shape-designed colloidal tiles.

Their Letter, entitled “A Brownian quasi-crystal of pre-assembled colloidal Penrose tiles”, was published online in the prestigious journal Nature on August 29, 2018.  Wang (Ph.D. ’18, Mason Group) is the first-author and Mason is the senior and corresponding author.  

An online feature article about Mason’s work in Nature appeared in the September 4, 2018 issue of Physics World (part of IOP publishing)”.  

Mason (pictured above) and Wang (pictured right) have produced the first large-scale fluctuating quasi-crystal of Penrose P2 kite and dart tiles at high densities, leading to the identification of a new form of matter which they call a pentatic liquid quasi-crystal. Moreover, they have studied how this fluctuating quasi-crystal melts as the density of tiles is reduced. The general method of litho-PAMs opens up interesting possibilities of exploring new multi-scale 2D phases or states of matter that are even more complex than quasi-crystals. Litho-PAMs can be used to bypass self-assembly processes (i.e. self-assembled monolayers or SAMs), since multi-scale systems that are self-assembled out of colloids typically contain defects and the process is often slow. 
 
Performing his research under the direction Mason in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Wang received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from UCLA in 2018, and he is currently a research scientist at the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). 
 
Mason is a professor of physical chemistry and of physics at UCLA and leads an interdisciplinary research group in pre- and self-assembled soft matter, nanoemulsions, and microrheology. For more information about research in Mason's group, visit this website.