MSE Seminar: Spontaneous Topography and Shape Change in Liquid Crystals
Friday, November 5, 2021
Speaker: Tim Atherton, Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy at Tufts University
Title: Spontaneous Topography and Shape Change in Liquid Crystals
Abstract: Liquid crystals are complex fluids that exhibit orientational order and, consequently, anisotropic elasticity and surface tension. Boundaries are an essential mechanism to control LC materials: they may induce a local orientation or preferred ordering and, globally, can enforce topological constraints that promote or inhibit defect formation. In many emerging applications, the boundary of the system is not fixed and stationary states of the system must be determined by extremizing the free energy both with respect to the order and the overall shape of the system. Results obtained with an explicit finite element method are presented for a selection of applications, from tactoids to patterned films.
Dr. Atherton is Associate Professor of Physics at Tufts University. He received his PhD in Physics in 2007 from the University of Exeter in the UK. He then spent two years as a postdoctoral scholar at Case Western Reserve University. Atherton joined the faculty of Tufts University in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in Fall 2011 and became Associate Professor in 2017. He has received the Research Corporation Cottrell Award, NSF CAREER award and NOGLSTP LGBT+ Educator of the Year award.