Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Astronomy

First Advisor

Joseph Maclennan

Second Advisor

Michael Shull

Third Advisor

Ann-Marie Madigan

Fourth Advisor

Ian Grooms

Abstract

In recent times the properties of quasi-two-dimensional films, similar to biological membranes, have been opened up to experimentation through freely-suspended liquid crystal films. These films, with an extremely thin, quantized thickness, can extend across relatively large distances of up to centimeters, and behave like a fluid in the film plane. The motion of isolated inclusions in these films, described by the inclusion’s mobility, is governed by Brownian motion has been extensively modeled and observed. This thesis will examine the behavior of isotropic inclusions near the boundary of a liquid crystal film. This is done by observing three modes of motion: translational motion perpendicular to the boundary, translation parallel to the boundary, and rotation of the inclusion. These observations are then compared to theoretical models of these situations. Our results indicate that mobility perpendicular to the boundary behaves as expected; however, the results for mobility parallel to the boundary are inconclusive, and the results of rotational mobility are greater than theoretical expectations. Future work on this subject includes altering the experimental methods to gather more parallel mobility data, determining the cause for the discrepancy in the rotational mobility, and later extending the experiment to include non-isotropic inclusions.

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