Ring around the colloid
In this work, we show that Janus washers, genus-one colloids with hybrid anchoring conditions, form topologically required defects in nematic liquid crystals. Experiments under crossed polarizers reveal the defect structure to be a rigid disclination loop confined within the colloid, with an accompanying defect in the liquid crystal. When confined to a homeotropic cell, the resulting colloid-defect ring pair tilts relative to the far field director, in contrast to the behavior of toroidal colloids with purely homeotropic anchoring. We show that this tilting behavior can be reversibly suppressed by the introduction of a spherical colloid into the center of the toroid, creating a new kind of multi-shape colloidal assemblage.