The rainbow peaks and valleys in this image arise thanks to the twisted power of chirality. This is a close-up view of a flat porphyrin derivative mixed with a chiral liquid crystalline molecule, 4′-(2-methylbutyl)-4-cyanobiphenyl, in a 10 to 1 ratio. It was taken by Sukrit Tantrawong, a professor at Thammasat University who studies the properties of liquid crystal mixtures for applications in micro- and nanotechnology. The crystals on the left-hand side of the image lie flat against the glass surface. But on the right side, the biphenyl molecules’ 3D shape disrupts the orderly arrangement of porphyrins, causing the crystals to arrange themselves into craggy, twisty shapes. The landscape created by the mixture can be used as a microscopic mold for nanofibers and nanotubes, says Tantrawong.
Submitted by Sukrit Tantrawong
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