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Tuning Coulombic interactions to stabilize nematic and smectic ionic liquid crystal phases in mixtures of charged soft ellipsoids and spheres

Abstract

We have investigated the effect of the electrostatic interaction in mixtures of soft ellipsoids and spheres based on the well-known Gay-Berne (GB) and Lennard-Jones (LJ) potential, respectively. These model systems, in their original version, that is without any electrostatic charge, have been thoroughly investigated in the literature both as pure components as well as mixtures. In particular, mixtures of particles of different shape, such as spheres and ellipsoids, tend to phase separate because of excluded volume effects. Common ionic liquid crystals, based on imidazolium or other quaternary ammonium salts, are usually composed by roughly elongated (although flexible) cations and roughly spherical anions, that is particles with a similar shape as the GB and LJ models. Therefore, in this work, we present the results of Molecular Dynamics simulations of mixtures of positively charged GB and negatively charged LJ particles as models of ionic liquid crystals. Interestingly, by modulating the charge of the particles it is possible to stabilize isotropic, nematic, smectic and crystalline ionic phases. The relative weight of Coulomb (a radial, therefore isotropic interaction) and van der Waals (an anisotropic interaction) contributions is a key parameter to tune the stability of the various mesophases.

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Publication details

The article was received on 27 Mar 2017, accepted on 14 Jun 2017 and first published on 15 Jun 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM00612H
Citation: Soft Matter, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Tuning Coulombic interactions to stabilize nematic and smectic ionic liquid crystal phases in mixtures of charged soft ellipsoids and spheres

    G. Saielli, T. Margola and K. Satoh, Soft Matter, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7SM00612H

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