Camille Bishop, a 5th-year graduate student working in Mark Ediger’s group as part of the MRSEC IRG 1, presented her work on liquid crystal-like order in vapor-deposited glasses at the Gordon Conference on Liquid Crystals in New London, NH that took place from July 7th-12th, 2019. The conference brings together researchers in a diverse range of disciplines involving liquid crystal science and technology.
Bishop presented a poster that showed a wide range of different organic glasses that she has created using physical vapor deposition, a thin film fabrication technique. In the poster, she showed how to control and tune the molecular organization in these structured glasses. Control of the structure in these sorts of materials should enable them to be applied to novel organic electronics.
Along with learning about many active liquid crystal research areas, Bishop learned a lot about interesting applications that relate to the materials she creates as a member of the MRSEC.
“In IRG 1, we focus on establishing structure-property relationships in glasses. In my work, I’m trying to create really highly structured glasses with order that resembles those in liquid crystals. This can be a kind of controversial topic in the field, since the traditional thought is that glasses really don’t have any structure, and certainly not as much structure as the ones that I make. At this conference, I learned about some devices and applications that I was unaware of that my materials might be useful for – and along with that, ideas for new structure-property relationships I can explore in my research,” said Bishop.
At the conference, she learned a lot about current liquid crystal research. Some of the most active areas of research explored at the conference were photonics (using materials to manipulate light) and using X-ray methods to characterize liquid crystalline ordering. A particularly interesting talk by Professor Mark MacLachlan involved using cellulose nanocrystals, a material found in nature, to pattern liquid crystal-like order into inorganic glasses.
Traditionally, Gordon Research Conferences are smaller than many other major conferences, and provide extensive opportunities to socialize with professors, industry professionals, post-docs, and other graduate students. “I’m very grateful to the MRSEC for presenting me with the Honored Scholar Award to give me the opportunity to attend this conference that helped me meet many people in the liquid crystal research community and learn about their research,” says Bishop.