Francesco Merola, featured ILCC liquid crystal artist, June 2012

Francesco Merola got his degree in Physics cum laude in 2006, at the "Federico II" University of Napoli, Italy, and the PhD in Fundamental and Applied Physics at the same University in 2009. In 2007 he joined the National Institute of Optics of the National Council of Research (CNR-INO) in Napoli, where he is now researcher. His interests deal with optical tweezers, microscopy, interferometry, and liquid crystals behavior in polymers like Pdms.
Optical microscope image of nematic liquid crystal femto-liter droplets onto PDMS microstructures formed on the surface of a functionalized lithium niobate crystal. Droplets are guided upon microstructures driven by electric field lines generated by pyroelectric effect. Image real dimensions: 800x600 microns. The image was taken at the CNR-INO lab of microscopy (Napoli, Italy) by an optical microscope working in brightfield and in a transmission configuration, using a 20x objective. The liquid crystal is the 6CHBT in the nematic phase. More details about the process leading to this particular configuration of liquid crystal droplets can be found in the paper by Wiley: DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201200323

Jury comment: 60's are back: psychedelic boiling