Featured Liquid Crystal Picture Art of the Month

January 2018

©Chun-Wei Chen

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The picture shows chiral nematic liquid crystal droplets dispersed in glycerol, captured under a polarizing optical microscope (Eclipse LV100POL, Nikon) in the reflection mode. The pitch of the chiral nematic is ~270 nm, and the droplets are about 10's–200 μm in diameter. In a submillimeter-sized chiral nematic droplet, the surface anchoring exerted by the glycerol is not strong enough to stabilize the entire droplet into a well-aligned planar texture. One finds that the large droplets exhibit some quasi-periodic fluctuations in the color of reflection. In addition, owing to the stirring procedure during the fabrication, it seems that the droplets were lined up in orbits, just like a microscopic version of a galaxy.

Jury comment

The image is nicely balanced. The composition is distinguished by a dynamic diagonal arrangement of the LC droplets. It is a lovely motif for the winter holidays.


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Chun-Wei (Joe) Chen received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Photonics from National Sun Yat-sen University (Taiwan), under the guidance of Prof. Tsung-Hsien Lin. He is currently studying towards a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University (USA), under the supervision of Prof. Iam Choon Khoo. His research interest includes nonlinear optical phenomena, electro-optic effects, and self-assembly in liquid-crystal cholesteric and blue phases as well as the optical devices based on soft chiral photonic crystals (a list of publications is available at www.researchgate.net/profile/Chun_Wei_Chen2). The picture was captured in Prof. Lin's lab when Chun-Wei was investigating the self-assembly of a chiral liquid crystal confined in droplets.
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