Featured Liquid Crystal Picture Art of the Month

November 2018

©Ingo Dierking

"Dowser state"

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Description

A s=+1 defect of the nematic phase, with the texture resulting from a director field, which is sometimes called a Dowser state, after a dowser searching for underground water with an instrument, which, when turned through 2π, gives the well known two-dimensional radial projection of the director field on a plane. The texture of the defect is a clear indication of the defect's escape into the third dimension. The image was taken with a Leica OPTIPHOT polarizing microscope with a x10 objective and then cropped to the section shown. The length of the long side is approximately 250 micrometers.

Author

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Ingo Dierking is a Senior Lecturer / Associate Professor at the School of Physics & Astronomy of The University of Manchester, United Kingdom. His research is mainly focused on the experimental aspects of the physics of liquid crystals, polymer modified liquid crystals, and liquid crystal - nanoparticle dispersions. The topics currently investigated in the group cover functional nanoparticles and graphene oxide dispersed in liquid crystal phases, defect annihilation dynamics, lyotropic liquid crystals from 2D materials, growth of thermotropic and lyotropic liquid crystals, and anisotropic emulsions. In his spare time Ingo is involved in public engagement of science as well as arts projects. He is also a keen collector of antique microscopes, vintage cameras and antique daguerreotype photographs. For further information or contact details, please see the following websites:

http://softmatter-dierking.myfreesites.net/
http://ingo-dierking-photography.myfreesites.net/

Jury comment

The picture nicely illustrates the polarisation optics of a liquid crystal around a s=+1 defect and also has a pleasant colour composition.
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