by Inigo del Castillo in Tech on Tuesday 7 January 2014

Scientists have grown liquid crystal flowers that look like dragonfly eyes and can act as lenses. For you non-science guys out there, Liquid crystals are matter that have the ordering properties of solids, but have the fluidity of liquid. I want to liken this material to a Skynet Terminator, but I’m not sure either, I’m no science guy.

Anyway, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania made a step forward in advancing the use of liquid crystals as a medium for assembling structures. Because these flowers are composed of a transparent liquid crystal and radiate out in a circle from a central point, the structure can be used as a lens in ‘directed assembly’, where structures can be built by indicating the starting conditions and allowing physics and chemistry to do the rest. So in the future, it may be possible to use this technology to grow lenses on curves surfaces, and different items to be made out of liquid crystals.

Scientists were able to make the lenses by getting a pattern of defect through planting tiny silica beads in liquid crystal. The petals of the liquid crystal formed around the defect, or the center, resulting in a flower-like form.

Via Science World Report