Satoshi Aya, featured ILCC liquid crystal artist, November 2017

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Satoshi Aya received his Ph.D degree in materials engineering at Tokyo Institute of Technology in 2014. He joined RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science as a special postdoctoral researcher in 2015. His principal interests are the physicochemical properties of soft matter, particularly surface properties, electrooptic effects and topological properties of liquid crystals as well as applications by using materials with liquid crystalline nature.
E-mail: satoshi.aya(at)
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Observation of an orientational transition of a conventional nematic liquid crystal, 4'-butyl-4-heptyl-bicyclohexyl-4-carbonitrile (CCN-47), in the nematic phase was made by using a polarizing optical microscope with a 10x objective. The substance is confined in a wedge cell upon a cooling procedure. The texture was taken at the transition temperature, at which a discontinuos variation in the orientation of director, from planar to homeotropic state, occurs. The picture width is approx. 860 µm. More details can be found in the paper by ACS, DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.6b03112.
Jury comment: This is not just a simple Schlieren texture with beautiful color gradation. Double-step surface-orientation transition brings about formation of some interesting patterns of sharp color changes.