Jakub Fitas, featured ILCC liquid crystal artist, June 2015

Jakub Fitas is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Dr. Monika Marzec in the Liquid Crystal Research Group of Department of Advanced Materials Engineering, at the Institute of Physics, Jagiellonian University. He received his Bachelor degree in Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology in 2011, followed by Master degree two years later, from Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. He is an active member of Polish Liquid Crystal Society. He is currently working on new ferroelectric mixtures. His research interests include liquid crystals and their ordering, dielectric and electro-optic properties of chiral liquid crystals, and their applications, primarily in display technologies. His e-mail address is jakub.fitas [at] uj.edu.pl.
This is a texture of a fluorinated biphenyl benzoate liquid crystal, in an ITO electro-optic cell with a strongly rubbed SE 130 polymer layer, shortly after the external electric field (rectangular wave of 8 V/um, 10 Hz) was switched off. The picture itself was taken through a Nikon Eclipse microscope with LINKAM hot stage, in a lab belonging to the Department of Advanced Materials Engineering of Jagiellonian University. While testing the sample's ability to achieve an uniform texture of its ferroelectric phase under an electric field, I discovered that the electrically induced orientation was partially retained even as the electric field was no longer applied to the sample. The islands of blue are those areas, ordered as if the field was still switched on.

Jury comment: The image shows the results of the delicate interplay between two stimuli commonly used in liquid crystal research - alignment layers and an applied electric field.