OASIS is a collaboration between partners at the University of Colorado in Boulder, at the University of Magdeburg, and at NASA. It is directed by Principal Investigator Noel Clark from the University of Colorado. Within the OASIS project, we plan experiments with free-standing smectic films under microgravity conditions. Such films can be prepared similar to soap films, they have thicknesses of a few molecular layers and can reach lateral extensions of several square centimeters. Inclusions (Islands and droplets) on free-standing films will be investigated by optical observation techniques. In the quasi-twodimensional geometry of these films hydrodynamic phenomena and self-organization processes under microgravitaty are observed and analyzed.
These experiments are tentatively scheduled for the International Space Station ISS in 2011. For these experiments, a module for the preparation of the films and the controlled positioning of the inclusions is being developed and tested.
One line of preliminary ground based research is performed in Magdeburg within the project OASIS-CO (DLR). In this project, we prepare two-dimensional colloids by shooting picoliter droplets on freely suspended flat films.
A parabolic flight experiment will be performed in March 2010 within the 15th campaign of the DLR. It serves as a test of the vital components of the unit that is designed for work in the ISS under microgravity. In the parabolic flight setup, we will produce planar and spherical free-standing smectic films and place droplets on these films by means of a commercial dispenser unit. A polarizing microscope and fast videocamera will be used for the observation of the droplets.