Manoj Kumar Paul, featured ILCC liquid crystal artist, January 2011
Manoj Kumar Paul, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Assam University, India. He received his PhD in 2005 from Assam University, India supervised by Prof. N. V. S Rao. In 2008, he received BOYSCAST award (BOYSCAST: Better Opportunity for Young Scientist in Chosen Area of Science and Technology), after that he joined the research group of Prof. C.C Huang at the University of Minnesota, USA as a guest scientist and began work on investigation of optical properties of the free standing liquid crystalline materials. His current research interests include synthesis of bent shaped liquid crystals with novel molecular architecture, preparation of lanthanide - containing metallomesogens and ferro- and anti-ferroelectric liquid crystals. In addition to design and synthesis of liquid crystals, he is also interested in optical properties of free standing liquid crystalline films and dielectric studies of the liquid crystals.
The image shows the line defects of a cholesteric phase in an untreated glass cell (thickness > 100µm) observed via polarized light microscopy under crossed polarizer. The sample was prepared by adding 10%chiral dopant with the Schiff’s base calamitic liquid crystals. The line defects are due to the helical structure of the cholesteric phase. This image is an optical texture of 10 % 6O(OH)2MBC (chiral dopant) in 4O(OH)6 liquid crystal in a crossed polarizer on slow cooling from isotropic liquid. The dark area is the isotropic liquid. The thread like texture appears from isotropic liquid under crossed polarizers, these threads coalesces to from such a beautiful cholesteric defects structure so called cholesteric fingers. The picture was taken on a Zeiss microscope equipped with a Canon EOS Rebel T1i digital camera.
Jury comment: This is an impressive visualization of the emergence of complex structure out of the uniform. The threads grow to an interwoven carpet, embellished by little starfish knots, and cover the Kandinskian black background.