LCI celebrates Liquid Crystal Day

Megan Wilkinson

Liquid crystals have made an impact on technological history. Without liquid crystals, there would be no Hi-Definition TVs. This molecule is in many hand-held calculators, clocks and even laptop computer screens. Technology would be different without the help of this discovery.

“By far, the greatest impact liquid crystals have made in our everyday lives is in the area of displays,” said Christopher Culbreath, a third-year graduate student at Kent State with a bachelor’s degree in physics from Cal Poly University. “We now have full-color, video capable devices that are lap-sized and pocket-sized that are all made with liquid crystals.”

Culbreath is one of several students helping out with Liquid Crystal Day. Today, Kent’s Liquid Crystal Institute (LCI) celebrates their annual Liquid Crystal Day with students and faculty from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is the LCI’s fifth year hosting the celebration for the rod-shaped molecule.

Liquid Crystal Day

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Initially, the event began in 2004 under Professor Liang-Chy Chien who wanted to give the crystals a one-day symposium. Since then, Kent has consistently honored the liquid crystal molecule once a year in the LCI building.

According to Dr. Qihuo Wei and his colleague Hiroshi Yokoyama in the LCI Department, the main purpose of the event is “to provide platforms for intellectual enlightening interactions between students and researchers” from all different professional areas. The department aims to bring back Kent State alumni to speak about their experiences with liquid crystals at Kent State and to give future Ph.D students in the Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Graduate Program a “sneak peek” into the field of liquid crystals.

Several professionals will be coming to present at Liquid Crystal Day. Dr. Jianlin Li, a Kent State alumnus, will be talking about his work as president of Polytronix Inc. and Nicholas Abbot, an expert in the liquid crystal field, will be discussing Bio-Molecular Interactions at the Interfaces of Confined Liquid Crystals.

Culbreath described the crystals as solid rods that flow like liquids. Their liquid-like behavior makes them responsive to external stimuli such as electrical, magnetic or light fields.

Four students are stepping it up today and presenting at the event, Dr. Wei said. Additionally, 38 students made posters for the event, which will be judged at the end of the event.

Jun Geng, a 2007 Kent State alumnus, will be presenting a poster about membrane stimulation for Liquid Crystal Day. He has done several experiments with the LCI Department and advocates the study of liquid crystals.

“It’s not only important for industries [to study liquid crystals],” Geng said, “but also important for the academics to study liquid crystals.”

Liquid Crystal Day is free and open to the public in the Samsung auditorium in the Liquid Crystal Institute.

Contact Megan Wilkinson at [email protected].