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May 27, 2020

'Medusa' shaped droplets containing liquid crystal molecules

Droplets containing chain-like liquid crystal molecules are spherical at high temperatures, according to findings by University of Pennsylvania researchers. If the chains inside the droplets are of varying lengths, they transform into "pollen," "flowers," "coral," and "Medusa" shapes when the temperature drops. "Medusas," pictured here, have long-reaching tendrils that contract back into a sphere when the temperature increases.

[Research supported by National Science Foundation grants DMR 1607378 and DMR 1720530.]

Learn more in the University of Pennsylvania news story Drops of liquid crystal molecules branch out into strange structures. (Date image taken: January 2020; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: May 27, 2020)

Credit: Wei-Shao Wei, Arjun G. Yodh, and Felice Macera, Department of Physics and Astronomy & LRSM, University of Pennsylvania

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