Featured Liquid Crystal Picture Art of the Month

June 2024

©Rebecca Walker

Ferroelectric Nematic Flower

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Description

This beautiful texture is observed when viewing a ferroelectric nematogen (EC437) under the polarised optical microscope, in a thin cell with homeotropic anchoring at 85 C. Disclination lines appear to spread out from a central point in an almost focal-conic manner, not unlike the petals of a flower!

The POM image of the ferroelectric nematic phase (NF) was taken on a Zeiss AxioImager A2m equipped with a Linkam THMS600 hot stage, 20x magnification, in a homeotropically aligned cell of thickness 1.7 micron (purchased from Warsaw Military University of Technology).

Author

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Rebecca Walker is a Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Aberdeen, UK and co-supervises the Liquid Crystal Group together with Corrie Imrie and John Storey.

Recent work in Aberdeen has had the primary aim of enhancing our current understanding of structure-property relationships in dimeric (NTB, SmCTB) and low-molar-mass (NF, NX) liquid crystals, through the synthesis and characterisation of a diverse range of materials. Rebecca’s particular interest lies in the relationships between structural and molecular chirality in these new phases, and she is presently working on materials designed to exhibit the chiral twist-bend nematic phase (N*TB) and helielectric nematic/chiral ferroelectric nematic phase (N*F).

Contact email: rebecca.walker(at)abdn.ac.uk

Twitter: @drbexwalker

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5167-7183

ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Rebecca-Walker-20

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebecca-walker-9128827b/

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.
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