Vance Williams, featured ILCC liquid crystal artist, October 2015

Vance Williams is an Associate Professor in the Chemistry Department at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada.  Vance’s first encounter with liquid crystals came in 1992 when he joined the research group of Robert Lemieux at Queen’s University.  His Ph.D. research on induced cholesteric phases sparked his continuing fascination with the optical microscopy of liquid crystals.  His current research is aimed at elucidating the relationship between a molecule’s structure and its tendency to self-assemble into columnar LC phases. His group’s investigations primarily focus on dibenzophenazines, which constitute a versatile class of discotic mesogens that tolerate a wide range structural variation and exhibit columnar phases over broad temperature ranges.
Web page:
Further details of his research can be found at:
• E. Voisin, E. J. Foster, M. Rakotomalala, V. E. Williams, Chem. Mater. (2009), 21, 3251.
• C. Lavigueur, E. J. Foster, V. E. Williams,  J. Am. Chem. Soc.  (2008) 130, 11791.
• E. J. Foster, R. B. Jones, C. Lavigueur, V. E. Williams,  J. Am. Chem. Soc.  (2006) 128,  8569.  
Smectic F liquid crystal upon cooling from the isotropic phase. The sample was viewed with a 10x objective using an Olympus BX50 polarizing optical microscope equipped with a Linkam LT5350 heating stage and photographed using a Nikon D90 DSLR. Picture width 1mm.

Jury comment: A beautiful interplay between focal conics and mosaic texture typical for higher ordered smectics. The beauty of these textures is almost forgotten now that other phases occupy most of the scientific attention in our field of research.