Jakub Fitas, featured ILCC liquid crystal artist, April 2016

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 picture shows the coexististence of three phases - chiral smectic liquid crystal, isotropic liquid, and a quite stable crystallite. The substance a sample of which is depicted on the photograph - a fluorinated biphenyl benzoate in a polymer-oriented ITO cell - has a very narrow temperature range of the liquid crystalline phase, and depending on the rate of temperature change, oftentimes it doesn't even fully transition into the liquid crystal before crystallizing. This time, we have cooled the sample slowly into the liquid crystal range and left it for a long while under an electric field (12 V/um, 10Hz sine wave), to see if a monodomain can be achieved. When we checked it again, we found it still wasn't uniform, but a small crystallite has grown on it.
This picture was taken through a Nikon Eclipse LV100POL microscope with a hot stage, in a lab belonging to the Department of Advanced Materials Engineering of Jagiellonian University.

Jury comment: The image shows three different phases due to the narrow LC temperature range, which was obtained by slow cooling under the electric field.