William Drake, featured ILCC liquid crystal artist, February 2010
William Drake is currently studying at Manchester in his 4th and final year of my MPhys degree, with the expectation that he will graduate in July with a 1st class degree. The picture was taken as part of his Masters research project, which is aiming to extending the stable range of BPI. The project is in collaboration with Rob Kociuruba and is supervised by Dr. Ingo Dierking. Following graduation, William intends to either join the RAF as a pilot or become a commercial skipper/sailing instructor working primarily on sailing yachts.
Jury comment: This month's picture jury was a small group of schoolchildren who chose the picture purely for its aesthetic appeal.
The sample is a 5 micrometer film of TM1001 Liquid Crystal (a thermochromic mixture from Merk), held between glass slides and viewed under a polarizing microscope at room temperature where the material is in a smectic-A phase. The picture is of an area ~650x500 micrometers in size.