Phase diagram of hard board-like colloids from computer simulations†
The rich mesophase polymorphism and the phase sequence of board-like colloids depends critically on their shape anisometry. Implementing extensive Monte Carlo simulations, we calculated the full phase diagram of sterically interacting board-like particles, for a range of experimentally accessible molecular dimensions/anisometries of colloids of this shape. A variety of self organized mesophases including uniaxial and biaxial nematics, smectic, cubatic and columnar phases have been identified. Our results demonstrate clearly that the molecular anisometry influences critically not only the structure and the symmetry of the mesophases but also, and perhaps more interestingly, the phase sequence between them. New classes of phase sequences such as nematic–nematic and, for the first time, a direct transition from a discotic and a biaxial nematic to an orthogonal smectic A phase have been identified. The molecular geometry requirements for such phase behavior have been located.