Featured Liquid Crystal Picture Art of the Month

July 2022

©Qing Zhang

Keeping an eye on drying liquid crystals

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Description

As a 2 mm drop of an isotropic aqueous liquid crystal (disodium cromoglycate solution) dries on an untreated surface, the suspended liquid crystal aggregates are transported to the drop perimeter by an evaporation-driven capillary flow. This leads to a non-uniform liquid crystal concentration along the drop radius, as evidenced by different liquid crystal phases from the drop edge to the center: columnar, nematic, and isotropic. The drop is visualized from below using crossed polarizers.

Author

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Qing Zhang is a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research, under the guidance of Prof. Irmgard Bischofberger, is on fluid instabilities and flow-induced structures in lyotropic chromonic liquid crystals.

Lab homepage: https://www.mitfluidslab.com/

Personal homepage: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Qing-Zhang-51

Contact email:
zqing(at)mit.edu

Jury comment

This contribution shows a special view of a drop of an isotropic aqueous liquid crystal on an untreated surface, where the suspended liquid crystal aggregates are transported to the drop perimeter by an evaporation-driven capillary flow. Attractively it evidences the ability of a disodium cromoglycate solution to form different liquid crystal phases from the drop edge to the center: columnar, nematic, and isotropic. It is a suggestive and new view of the aesthetic beauty always highlighted by liquid crystals.
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