Effect of temperature and electric field on 2D nematic colloidal crystals stabilised by vortex-like topological defects†
We report experimental studies on 2D colloidal crystals of dimers stabilized by vortex-like defects in planar nematic and π/2 twisted nematic cells. The dimers are prepared and self-assembled using a laser tweezer. We study the effect of temperature and electric field on the lattice parameters of the colloidal crystals. The lattice parameters vary with the temperature in the nematic phase and a discontinuous structural change is observed at the nematic to smectic-A phase transition. In the nematic phase, we observed a large change in the lattice parameters (≃30%) by applying an external electric field perpendicular to the plane of the 2D crystals. The idea and the active control of the lattice parameters could be useful for designing tunable colloidal crystals.