A liquid crystal “flower” under magnification. The black dot at center is the silica bead that generates the flower’s pattern.
A team of material scientists, chemical engineers and physicists from the University of Pennsylvania has made another advance in their effort to use liquid crystals as a medium for assembling structures. In their earlier studies, the team produced patterns of “defects,” useful disruptions in the repeating patterns found in liquid crystals, in nanoscale grids and rings. The new study adds a more complex pattern out of an even simpler template: a three-dimensional array in the shape of a flower. And because the petals of this “flower” are made of transparent liquid crystal and radiate out in a circle from a central point, the ensemble resembles a compound eye and can thus be used as a lens.
Randall Kamien, Kathleen Stebe, and Shu Yang
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