Liquid crystals are remarkable materials that combine the optical properties of crystalline solids with the flow properties of liquids, characteristics that come together to enable the displays found in most computer monitors, televisions and smartphones.
According to Physorg, in a study published in the Proceedings of the
This property means that these liquid crystals hold potential for biomedical applications, where their changing internal patterns could signal the presence of specific proteins or other biological macromolecules.
The researchers placed these liquid crystals into water droplets, which in turn were placed in oil, producing an emulsion. At high concentrations within the droplets, the liquid crystals exhibit a twisting pattern visible under an optical microscope.
At even higher concentrations, however, the liquid crystals display an even more unusual behavior: their constituent molecules stack to form columns that organize into crystal-like structures and transform the normally spherical water droplets into faceted fluid gemstones.
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