Congratulations to PhD student Tom Parton who has one a prize in the CU NanoSoc photo competition. Tom’s beautiful image can be seen below!
© Thomas Parton (@ThatGladPerson)
Order and disorder. The intense colours in the photo are created by cellulose nanocrystals, which self-assembly into a chiral nematic liquid crystal structure. We believe the “tendrils” are created when the cellulose crystals assemble around azobenzene surfactant micelles in the suspension. The image was taken on an inverted optical microscopy in reflection mode with crossed polars. In my research I study the interaction of cellulose nanocrystal and azobenzene surfactants with the aim of finding ways to make colorants from more sustainable materials.