Hsin-Ling Liang was born in Taipei, Taiwan. She obtained her B.Sc (2004) and M.Sc (2006) degrees from the College of Nuclear Science at National Tsing Hua University (NTHU), Taiwan. After graduation, she was employed by Taimaid Technology (Hsinchu, Taiwan) as an R&D engineer. Since 2009, she has started her doctoral research as a DAAD scholarship holder at Martin-Luther-Universität-Halle Wittenberg in Germany. Currently she is a Ph.D. student at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, co-advised by Prof. Rudolf Zentel, and Prof. Jan Lagerwall (at the Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology, Seoul National University). Her current research topics focus on investigations in spherical smectic liquid crystal shells generated by microfluidics. Outside research she enjoys and gains very much interesting life experience abroad, about which she ever shared in an essay in a Taiwanese newspaper. (http://mag.udn.com/mag/reading/storypage.jsp?f_ART_ID=260744, United Daily News, 10. Jul. 2010)
An 8CB spherical shell presents a defect-rich focal conic tiling pattern in the SmA phase under hybrid alignment: planar at one boundary, homeotropic at the other. The hybrid alignment induces a director bend within the shell in the high temperature nematic state. At the onset of the transition to SmA the bend is suppressed to a thin wrinkled membrane in the shell bulk that remains in a nematic state between two smectic regimes with perpendicular alignments. A Rayleigh instability breaks up the wrinkles into focal conic domains. In this steady state arrangement the smectic layers curve to make the opposing boundary conditions compatible with smectic order.
The shell, with a diameter of 200 μm and 13-14 μm thick, boundary confined by polymeric surfactant Pluronic F127 (exterior) and PVA (interior), was prepared in a coaxial glass microfluidic device and filled into a flat capillary. We placed the flat capillary into a hot stage mounted on a polarizing microscope with a digital camera installed and recorded the phase transition phenomena.
Additional investigations in various size- and anchoring strength-dependent features of 8CB shells under hybrid confinement are presented in our latest publication.