Möbius-Like Liquid Crystals

Möbius-like structures formed in a liquid crystal.

Möbius strips are nonintuitive objects. They appear multi-dimensional but are single-sided. Such topologies show up in other systems, too. Here we see a liquid crystal where molecular alignments, along with vortices in the fluid, result in tiny, three-dimensional shapes nicknamed “möbiusons,” thanks to their unusual properties. Each one is about 10 μm long. The researchers found that these möbiusons can spontaneously fold into many configurations. But under an electrical field, the möbiusons can self-propel and remain stable through many motions, including rotation. Such behaviors could be useful for transporting nano-sized cargo. (Image and research credit: H. Zhao et al.; via Physics Today)

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