"Optical Properties of Liquid Crystal DNA Lenses"
In this project, the behavior of DNA as a lyotropic liquid crystal was investigated. Specifically, circular droplets containing DNA were allowed to evaporate, thereby becoming increasingly concentrated and going through phase transitions. This air-dried or heated process left behind concentrically arranged rings and a central well, or depression. The optical qualities of this surface topology were examined using light scattering; the central depression closely resembles a divergent lens and the surrounding ring structures cause diffraction and interference at a distant screen. The director arrangement and structure of the droplet were observed using a cross-polarizing microscope.
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