Liquid-Crystal Kaleidoscope

PHOTO: Christian Bohley

The stuff of liquid-crystal displays looks different up close. In this image taken by Christian Bohley, an experimental physicist at Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg, in Germany, both the blue and the gold areas contain liquid crystals. The difference is in their orientation. In the blue area, the crystals are unstructured, but in the gold and corrugated bands, the crystals have assembled themselves in helical forms. Bohley and his colleagues try to come up with theories for how these structures assemble.

Bohley's photo finished 18th out of 1700 entries in the Nikon Small World Photography Competition, which awards prizes for images made through microscopes. An exhibition of the finalists' photos is touring various parts of the United States, including New York City; Baltimore; Trenton, N.J.; and Portland, Ore. For details, see

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