Electrically tunable optoelastic interaction range of nematic colloids
We report on the electrical tuning of the interaction range between colloidal particles in nematic liquid crystals. The experimental demonstration relies on the study of the dynamics of a real colloidal particle made of a glass sphere in the presence of an artificial laser-induced colloid that results from the local distortion of the nematic by a Gaussian light beam. The optoelastic interaction range between such a pair of colloids is shown to be fully controlled electrically. Moreover, all the observations are well described by an analytical model that accounts for the field-induced reorientation of the liquid crystal and the overlap between the long-range director distortion around both colloids.