Forma, Vol. 9 (No. 3), pp. 281-288, 1994

Microscopic Textures Ordered Systems with Fluidity

Y. Kawamura and I. Sakurai

Biophysics Lab., The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, Hirosawa 2-1, Wako, Saitama 351-01, Japan

(Received May 14, 1994; Accepted June 2, 1994)

Keywords: Liquid Crystals, Optical Textures, Myelin Figures

Abstract. Liquid crystals have an orientational ordering of constituent molecules together with fluidity caused by a translational disorder of the molecules. A small perturbation on a liquid crystalline system can induce a change in orientational and structural state of the system since the molecules can adapt easily to the perturbed state through their liquid-like behaviour. Thus liquid crystals show a variety of orientational structures characteristic to each liquid crystalline phase, which are called textures. The optical anisotropy due to the orientational order makes the results of Nature's engineering easily visible by use of a polarizing microscope. Several textures of nematic and smectic A liquid crystals will be presented here putting emphasis on so-called myelin figures of lipid/water system.