What can you determine with light?
Topic: Materials science
In this workshop, you will fimiliarise with substances often studied in materials science: hydrogels and liquid crystals, and determine their properties using visible light.
Interference patterns on thin films and colourful textures on liquid crystals:
Hydrogels are polymer networks swollen in water and are commonly studied for medical applications. In this workshop, an agarose hydrogel is prepared and its thickness is determined by interferometry. Interferometry is based on light reflected from a thin film, which forms colourful interference patterns. The workshop captures this reflected light and uses the patterns to calculate the thickness of the film.
The second part of the workshop will regard liquid crystals, an intermediate form of matter between a solid and a liquid. Liquid crystals have a special feature of beautiful textures and other optical properties, which is why they are commonly used in applications such as Liquid Crystalline Displays (LCDs). We will prepare a sample of liquid crystals on a microscope slide and see what liquid crystals look like under a polarised optical microscope.
Organisers: Lotta Gustavsson and Tytti Kärki
Language: Bilingual (Finnish/English)
Location: Nanotalo (Puumiehenkuja 2), 1st floor labs