Featured Liquid Crystal Picture Art of the Month

September 2023

©Victor Fernandez-Gonzalez

On the edge of the cholesteric-isotropic phase transition

Stacks Image 68


When a chiral nematic liquid crystal is heated, the cholesteric-isotropic transition can be observed. Just at the edge of the transition, both phases coexist. When the heating is stopped, the system self-organizes, forming different structures and shapes along its texture.

The liquid crystal used was a chiral nematic liquid sample with E7 (Merck) as the nematic host and EOS-12 chiral dopant at 7% by weight. The liquid crystal used was synthesized at the Universidad de Concepción, Chile. The image was taken using the POM technique at 5x magnification. To obtain this texture, the samples were heated at a rate of 1°C/min to about 61°C, where the cholesteric-isotropic transition begins. At the edge of the transition the heating is stopped, so the system forms a texture with a wide range of defects due to the coexistence of phases in the sample. The self-organization of vortices, cholesteric fingers, isotropic bubbles create an interesting display of chiral nematic phenomena.


Stacks Image 81
He is a master's student working under the supervision of Professor Marcel Clerc in the Laboratory of Robust Phenomena in Optics (LAFER), at the Department of Physics of the Universidad de Chile. As a group, they focus their research activities in the field of nonlinear optics of liquid crystals, and especially in the study of the complex spatiotemporal dynamics and defect dynamics that arise in spatially extended systems. Currently, he is working on understanding the emergence of topological features in chiral nematic liquid crystals, both theoretically and experimentally.

Contact Information:
LAFER web page: https://www.cec.uchile.cl/~lafer/index.html
Email: victor.fernandez.g(at)ug.uchile.cl
Orcid ID: 0000-0002-6652-6131

Jury comment

The photo shows once again how liquid crystals combine science and artistic aspects, so the picture is very attractive from an aesthetic and artistic point of view.
Stacks Image 61

More in Gallery

Please note: All pictures are copyright of the artists themselves! If you would like to use the pictures in any context, you must ask permission of the artists directly.