Wojciech Tomczyk, featured ILCC liquid crystal artist, August 2015
I am a PhD student under the supervision of Professor Lech Longa in the Department of Statistical Physics on the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science, Jagiellonian University, Kraków (Poland). Currently I am engaged in studies devoted to spontaneous chiral symmetry breaking in liquid crystalline systems of achiral bent-core, especially in investigation of the nature of the heliconical (twist-bend) nematic phase (Ntb) of nanoscale pitch. My research focuses on chiral, biaxial and polar order in microscopic and phenomenological models of bent-core liquid crystals in the mean field approximation. Both my B.Sc. (Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, 2012) and M.Sc. (Experimental Physics, 2014) degrees I have acquired in the field of liquid crystals science under the supervision of Doctor Monika Marzec in the liquid crystal group in the Department of Advanced Materials Engineering on the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Sciences, Jagiellonian University, Kraków (Poland). As part of my theses and scientific projects I was studying the physicochemical properties and molecular dynamics of newly synthesized pure and as well as mixtures of thermotropic liquid crystalline compounds exhibiting ferro- and antiferroelectric smectic C* phases. I have conducted experiments by means of methods like: Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), Polarizing Optical Microscopy (POM) with electro-optic measurements, X-ray Powder Diffraction (XRPD), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Frequency Domain Dielectric Spectroscopy (FDDS) and by theoretical approach involving construction and analysis of quantum-chemical models based on Density Functional Theory. I am an active member of Polish Liquid Crystal Society.
Enclosed picture represents a texture of a thermotropic liquid crystal compound, which belongs to the family of fluorosubstituted esters with three phenyl rings. Compound, apart from crystal and isotropic, exhibits both ferro- and antiferrolectric SmC* phases. Picture was taken under the same conditions as described in the January 2015 ILCS liquid crystal picture page. What is astonishing and attractive in this image is a direct manifestation of liquid crystal beauty and emergence. One can see that this "finger-print like" texture with its dizzying array of shades of pomegranate and orange recalls a famous painting made by Vincent Van Gogh called "The Starry Night" (source: http://www.moma.org/collection/works/79802 - Museum of Modern Arts).
The image was taken using equipment from the laboratory of the Department of Advanced Materials Engineering of Jagiellonian University.