Illuminating Liquid Crystals: A Fusion of Art and Scientific Exploration | LASER Talks Brussels




October 26, 2023,  2 pm CET — Find your timezone here

Online + Théâtre de Namur
Place du Théâtre 2, 5000 Namur

Panelists: Dmitry Gelfand, Evelina Domnitch and Yoann Olivier
Moderator: Edith Doove

Organised by Alexandra Dementieva

In an innovative project titled “Lemniscate Cascade,” artists and scientists join forces to unravel the secrets of light-sensitive liquid crystals. This enigmatic material is more than just the stuff of digital displays, but holds the key to the fundamental dialogue between light and soft matter that sparked life on Earth. The artists behind “Lemniscate Cascade” employ laser beams to traverse light-sensitive liquid crystals, setting off a mesmerizing chain of transformations along the beam’s path. 

It’s fascinating how the very materials featured in ‘Lemniscate Cascade’ could draw parallels to elucidate the materials and intricate physical processes at the core of this scientific research. The dual-phase nature of liquid crystals and their intriguing response to light might find intriguing correlations with the dual-state duality of singlets and triplets in the realm of OLEDs.

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Yoann Olivier researches the future of Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLEDs). OLEDs are at the forefront of lighting and display technologies, but there’s always room for improvement. This project delves into the world of TADF (Thermally Activated Delayed Fluorescence) to boost OLEDs’ efficiency to an astounding 100%. It’s a quest to understand the intricacies of singlet and triplet states, influenced by magnetic field effects (MFEs) such as spin-orbit coupling, hyperfine interaction, and the delta g mechanism. Olivier’s multi-scale approach tackles these challenges, offering new perspectives for material design.

Dmitry Gelfand (b.1974, St. Petersburg, Russia) and Evelina Domnitch (b. 1972, Minsk, Belarus) create installations and performances that merge physical phenomena with uncanny philosophical practices. Current findings, particularly regarding wave phenomena, are employed by the artists to investigate questions of perception and perpetuity. Such investigations are salient because the scientific picture of the world, which serves as the basis for contemporary thought, still cannot encompass the unrecordable workings of consciousness. Having dismissed the use of recording and fixative media, Domnitch and Gelfand’s installations exist as ever-transforming phenomena offered for observation. Because these rarely seen phenomena take place directly in front of the observer without being intermediated, they often serve to vastly extend the observer’s sensory envelope. The immediacy of this experience allows the observer to transcend the illusory distinction between scientific discovery and perceptual expansion. To trace the liquid crystal’s light-propelled flow, hollow glass microspheres are suspended in the solution. These tiny lenses also serve to expand the liquid crystal’s sensitivity to brightness and color. During the laser beam’s self-shaping journey, it creates a projection that magnifies microscopic landscapes in the liquid’s depths. 

Yoann Olivier obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Mons in 2008. From 2009 to 2013, he held a postdoctoral fellowship from Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS) and went on postdoctoral stays with Prof. Claudio Zannoni at the University of Bologna and Prof. Henning Sirringhaus at the University of Cambridge. From 2013 to 2019, he was a research associate at the University of Mons and recently joined in July 2019 the Chemistry and Physics departments of the University of Namur as a lecturer. His research interests deal with the understanding of electronic processes in organic conjugated (small molecule and polymers) and 2D materials, using a multiscale approach combining quantum-chemical methods, Monte Carlo approach and molecular dynamics simulations. Recently, he developed an interest in a new class of materials for organic light-emitting diodes exhibiting thermally activated delayed fluorescence, focusing on their electronic structure and their energy transport properties. 

Edith Doove (PhD) is a curator, writer and researcher, specifically interested in notions of emergence and contingency, cross and transdisciplinary collaborations. 

Alexandra Dementieva is a multimedia artist based in Brussels. The idea of interaction between the viewer and an artwork, mediated by technologically progressive visualization methods, lies at the core of her work. Her installations focus on the role of the viewer and her/his interaction with an artwork and bring forth ways of provoking the viewer’s involvement, thus allowing hidden mechanisms of human behaviour to be revealed.