Take A Closer Look

    Nematic Liquid Crystals. Photo by Dr Vance Williams, Simon Fraser University.


Nematic Liquid Crystals. Photo by Dr Vance Williams, Simon Fraser University.

We recently discovered an amazing liquid crystal photo gallery, with a collection of microphotographs all taken using a Linkam LTS350 stage (predecessor to the LTS420).

The photos were taken by Dr Vance Williams, an Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, who is Principal Investigator in an organic materials chemistry group called the Williams Research Group.

The group works with liquid crystals, molecular photoswitches and birefringent materials.

Their liquid crystal research focuses on uncovering the factors and interactions that control the self-assembly of liquid crystals through the design and synthesis of new liquid crystalline materials.

Liquid crystals are an intermediate state of matter between conventional liquids and solid crystals, with properties of both. There are many types of liquid crystal phases, which are distinguishable by their different optical properties. Viewed under a polarised light microscope, their different phases show impressive textures and birefringence colours.

The best known application of liquid crystals is in electronic displays, specifically ‘liquid crystal displays’ (LCDs) for computer monitors and televisions, But they can also be found in abundance in living systems, for example, as proteins and cell membranes. 

Dr Williams is a keen microphotographer, an example of his work can be seen above, but for more pictures visit his site. We hope we will be able to feature more of his work in the future.

By Frances Coles