Shape instabilities of islands in smectic films under lateral compression
Smectic liquid crystals are fluids, and in most rheological situations they behave as such. Nevertheless, when thin freely floating films of smectic A or smectic C materials are compressed quickly in-plane, they resist such stress by buckling similar to solid membranes under lateral stress. We report experimental observations of wrinkling and bulging of finite domains within the films, so-called islands, and give a qualitative explanation of different observed patterns. Depending on the external stress and their dimensions, the islands can expel a specifically shaped bulge in their center, form radial wrinkles or develop target-like wrinkle structures. When the external stress is relaxed, these patterns disappear reversibly.