At the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Cracow, a method has been presented that for the first time makes it possible to estimate the amount of negative pressure in spatially limited liquid crystal systems.

In the world of plants, attracting intermolecular forces (not: expanding thermal motions) guarantee the flow of water to the treetops of all trees taller than ten metres.

On the quantum scale, the pressure of virtual particles of a false vacuum leads to the creation of an attractive force, appearing, for example, between two parallel metal plates (the famous Casimir effect).

Although we also cannot do this directly, we have proposed a method that allows this pressure to be reliably estimated," says Dr. Tomasz Rozwadowski from the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IFJ PAN) in Cracow, the first author of a publication in the Journal of Molecular Liquids.

The Polish physicists investigated a liquid crystal known as 4CFPB, made up of 1.67 nm long molecules with a molecular diameter of 0.46 nm.

The geometry of the nanopores meant that there was room for only a few molecules of liquid crystal next to each other, with the long axes positioned along the walls of the channel.

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