Date of Award

Spring 2007

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2007 Michelle Tomasik. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Physics & Astronomy Department

First Advisor

Peter J. Collings


This paper explores the liquid crystal and aggregation properties of Bordeaux Dye along with a more general theory of aggregation. Common properties of chromonic liquid crystal systems have been expounded upon and re-evaluated. X-ray data were used to find the aggregate's cross-sectional area, which was compared to that of a single molecule to show that the structure of the aggregates is more complicated than a single-molecule stack. Theoretical aggregate size calculations show that it is important to account for the rotational partition function term, and these aggregate size distributions, along with a simple function found by exploring exciton theory, allow us to analyze the absorption coefficient verses concentration data to find the stacking free energy. A phase diagram for this molecule has also been produced and is compared to those of other chromonic systems.