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Issue 4, 2008
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Isotropic-to-nematic nucleation in suspensions of colloidal rods

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Abstract

Using computer simulations, we study the isotropic-to-nematic nucleation in a fluid of colloidal hard rods as well as in a mixture of colloidal rods and non-adsorbing polymer. In order to follow the transformation of the system from the isotropic to the nematic phase, we use a new cluster criterion that enables us to distinguish the nematic clusters from the isotropic fluid phase. Applying this criterion in Monte Carlo simulations, we find two different regimes depending on the supersaturation. At low supersaturation we find nucleation and growth, while at higher supersaturation spinodal decomposition is observed. We determine the height of the nucleation barrier, and we study the structure as well as the shape of the nematic clusters. We discuss our simulation results in the light of classical nucleation theory.

Graphical abstract: Isotropic-to-nematic nucleation in suspensions of colloidal rods

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Article information


Submitted
12 Oct 2007
Accepted
21 Dec 2007
First published
31 Jan 2008

Soft Matter, 2008,4, 757-767
Article type
Paper

Isotropic-to-nematic nucleation in suspensions of colloidal rods

A. Cuetos, R. van Roij and M. Dijkstra, Soft Matter, 2008, 4, 757
DOI: 10.1039/B715764A

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