Dong Chen, featured ILCC liquid crystal artist, August 2012
Dong Chen has recently graduated from the Liquid Crystal Materials Research Center (LCMRC) at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) and now is a Postdoc in the same group under the guidance of Prof. Noel A. Clark. His research areas mainly focus on characterizing the microstructures of various liquid crystal phases, especially using freeze fracture transmission electron microscopy (FFTEM) which enables direct visualization of the layer structure of smectic liquid crystals, with a Ph.D. thesis titled “Nanostructures of Liquid Crystal Phases”. In 2006, he received his B.S. degree of applied physics with a thesis about “Investigating the interplay of magnetic and ferroelectricity in magneticelectric multiferroics by substituting the Mn site of DyMnO3 with Cr ion” from University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in China. After two years’ study at CU, he got the M.S. degree after passing a comprehensive exam on the topic of “Investigation of the Faraday instability” in 2009.
Among the bent-core liquid crystal phases, the B7 phase forms the most beautiful and fantastic optical textures, such as chessboard-like textures, banana-leaf-like textures, and ribbon-like textures. The origin behind these textures is still a mystery. By cooling down the c=90% NOBOW/8CB mixture (c, weight percent of NOBOW) slowly (0.02 degree/min), the B2 phase of NOBOW forms the B7 like texture. Previous studies have shown that NOBOW totally phase-separates from 8CB when cooling down the isotropic blends. Therefore, the formation of B7 like texture in B2 phase is due to the dilution of 8CB. This result may shine light on what properties of liquid crystal materials determine the B7 texture. The image is about 600 μm width.