Supervisor: Francesca Serra
Liquid crystals are complex fluids where molecules tend to align with each other. Importantly, this orientation is dictated by the boundaries: when a thin layer of liquid crystals is in contact with a surface, the chemistry of the surface is going to affect the liquid crystal orientation. Their orientation in turn affects the optical properties of liquid crystals and changes in orientation can be easily observed with polarized optical microscopy. For this reason, liquid crystals can be excellent detectors.
We propose to use liquid crystal as a detector of fingerprints, which are mainly composed by lipids and surfactants. The project will involve characterizing the liquid crystal alignment onto substrates with varying amount and varying composition of lipids, in order to identify the best conditions to detect changes in the liquid crystal alignment.