Gemma Shearman, featured ILCC liquid crystal artist, March 2009

Gemma Shearman is a post-doctoral research associate in the Membrane Biophysics group at Imperial College London, where the four group leaders are Prof. John Seddon, Prof. Richard Templer, Dr. Rob Law and Dr. Oscar Ces. She studies self-assembled amphiphilic microstructured materials, ranging from discotic porphyrin derivatives and photoluminescent liquid crystalline dyes to lipid model membranes. The work on discotic liquid crystals is part of an ongoing collaboration between Prof. John Seddon and Dr. Gokhan Yahioglu, Imperial College London, investigating alkyl-substituted porphyrin derivatives (reference: G.C. Shearman, G. Yahioglu, J. Kirstein, L.R. Milgrom, J.M. Seddon, J. Mater. Chem., 2009, 19, 598-604).
This picture shows the optical texture of a rectangular columnar phase formed by the zinc complex of β−octadodecylporphyrin obtained after cooling from the isotropic phase and then held at 153°C. The polarising microscope used was a Nikon Eclipse E600 equipped with a Linkam TMS 94 heating stage. The image size is approximately 1830 x 1460 μm.

Jury comment: the repeating colors and geometrical features give this texture image something magical.