Elizabeth Sylvester took a look through a microscope and was surprised to see her sample staring back at her. Sylvester, a research associate in Christina Tang’s lab at Virginia Commonwealth University, searches for ways to make liquid crystals of various colors. This mixture, which looks reddish orange under normal lighting, contains three molecules: cholesteryl chloride, cholesteryl pelargonate, and cholesteryl oleyl carbonate. The round pools in this sample appear blue when Sylvester views the sample under the polarized-light microscope; those are spots where the three molecules have begun to form ordered, liquid crystals. Sylvester and her team at VCU aim to find applications in sensors for colorful liquid crystals like these.
Submitted by Elizabeth Sylvester
Do science. Take pictures. Win money. Enter our photo contest here.