Liquid crystal necklaces
The experimental study made by coworkers from Portugal and USA (Yong Geng, Pedro L. Almeida, Oleg Lavrentovich and Maria H. Godinho) of planar cholesteric droplets, threaded on thin cellulose fibres, stimulated numerical modelling by David Seč and Slobodan Žumer. The synergy of experimental and theoretical approaches resulted in the article Liquid crystal necklaces: cholesteric drops threaded by thin cellulose fibres (PDF) that was also featured as a Front Cover of the Soft Matter journal (image was produced by David Seč). Additionally, the work was also chosen as a "Hot Paper" in RSC blog.
Cellulose fibres that pierce droplets through its centres substantially change the topology and also the shape of the droplets due to the surface tension. This proves to be crucial for novel chiral defect structures that are very sensitive to temperature changes. The coupling between the cellulose fibres and organisation of liquid crystal molecules opens new routes to a possible fabrication of tunable thermo-optical elements for photonic and waveguide applications.