Continuum percolation in colloidal dispersions of hard nanorods in external axial and planar fields
We present a theoretical study on continuum percolation of rod-like colloidal particles in the presence of axial and planar quadrupole fields. Our work is based on a self-consistent numerical treatment of the connectedness Ornstein–Zernike equation, in conjunction with the Onsager equation that describes the orientational distribution function of particles interacting via a hard-core repulsive potential. Our results show that axial and planar quadrupole fields both in principle increase the percolation threshold. By how much depends on a combination of the field strength, the concentration, the aspect ratio of the particles, and percolation criterion. We find that the percolated state can form and break down multiple times with increasing concentration, i.e., it exhibits re-entrance behaviour. Finally, we show that planar fields may induce a high degree of triaxiality in the shape of particle clusters that in actual materials may give rise to highly anisotropic conductivity properties.