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Issue 14, 2011
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Nematic textures in microfluidic environment

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Abstract

We study the flow of a nematic liquid crystal through microchannels possessing degenerate planar anchoring conditions on the channel walls. Depending on the channel dimensions and the flow rate, the formation of different textures and topological defect structures is observed and studied using polarizing optical microscopy and fluorescence confocal polarizing microscopy. The observed structures comprise π-walls, disclination lines pinned to the channel walls, disclination lines with one pinned and one freely suspended end, and disclination loops freely flowing in a chaotic manner. We focus on the creation, evolution and morphology of different kinds of π-walls and pinned disclinations. Such defects and textures in the nematic fluid can potentially be applied for guiding the transport of individual particles and larger colloidal assemblies inside an appropriate microfluidic device.

Graphical abstract: Nematic textures in microfluidic environment

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Publication details

The article was received on 13 Jan 2011, accepted on 10 May 2011 and first published on 15 Jun 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1SM05052D
Citation: Soft Matter, 2011,7, 6542-6549
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    Nematic textures in microfluidic environment

    A. Sengupta, U. Tkalec and C. Bahr, Soft Matter, 2011, 7, 6542
    DOI: 10.1039/C1SM05052D

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