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Issue 22, 2014
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Viscoelasticity of nematic liquid crystals at a glance

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Abstract

Polarised microscopy is shown to be a powerful alternative to light scattering for the determination of the viscoelasticity of aligned nematic liquid crystals. We perform experiments in a wide range of temperatures by using an adapted version of the recently introduced differential dynamic microscopy technique, which enables us to extract scattering information directly from the microscope images. A dynamic analysis of the images acquired in different geometries provides the splay, twist and bend viscoelastic ratios. A static analysis allows a successful determination of the bend elastic constant. All our results are in excellent agreement with those obtained with the far more time-consuming depolarised light scattering techniques. Remarkably, a noteworthy extension of the investigated temperature-range is observed, owing to the lower sensitivity of microscopy to multiple scattered light. Moreover, we show that the unique space-resolving capacities of our method enable us to investigate nematics in the presence of spatial disorder, where traditional light scattering fails. Our findings demonstrate that the proposed scattering-with-images approach provides a space-resolved probe of the local sample properties, applicable also to other optically anisotropic soft materials.

Graphical abstract: Viscoelasticity of nematic liquid crystals at a glance

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 Jan 2014, accepted on 03 Mar 2014 and first published on 04 Mar 2014


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4SM00145A
Citation: Soft Matter, 2014,10, 3938-3949
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Viscoelasticity of nematic liquid crystals at a glance

    F. Giavazzi, S. Crotti, A. Speciale, F. Serra, G. Zanchetta, V. Trappe, M. Buscaglia, T. Bellini and R. Cerbino, Soft Matter, 2014, 10, 3938
    DOI: 10.1039/C4SM00145A

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