Somen Debnath, featured ILCC liquid crystal artist, September 2013
Somen Debnath is a UGC research fellow doing his Ph. D programme with Prof. Nandiraju V S Rao, Department of Chemistry, Assam University, Silchar, India, related to the design, synthesis and characterization of achiral four-ring bent-core compounds, influence of substituents on the mesomorphism of these four ring compounds and to study their optical properties. Some of the bent compounds and their complexes exhibit nematic and smectic phases with unusual POM textures. He obtained his M.Sc (2008) degree from the Assam University Silchar, India. His present research interest is on design and synthesis of nonlinear shaped liquid crystals with novel molecular architecture having wide range of photonic applications, such as optical switching etc.
The image is of a four ring bent core compound exhibiting super cooled polarization splay modulated and layer undulated B1Rev/Tilted phase variants. The image is taken in a normal glass plate covered with a glass slip at 80.5°C. The textures grow in size upon prolonged cooling through a process of nucleation over a period of time of few hours. The picture was taken on Nikon Polarising microscope attached with Instec STC 200 hot stage and Nikon Digital sight DS-Fi1 digital camera. The image height is about 100 microns.
Jury comment: The jury found the complex and chaotic nature of this image fascinating. Indeed, in our experience the image seems to become more and more compelling over time, and deserves recognition as the September ILCS picture of the month.