Liquid crystal necklaces: cholesteric drops threaded by thin cellulose fibres†
Liquid crystals in confined geometries exhibit numerous complex structures often including topological defects that are controlled by the nematic elasticity, chirality and surface anchoring. In this work, we study the structures of cholesteric droplets pierced by cellulose fibres with planar anchoring at droplet and fibre surfaces. By varying the temperature we demonstrate the role of twisting power and droplet diameter on the equilibrium structures. The observed structures are complemented by detailed numerical simulations of possible director fields decorated by defects. Three distinct structures, a bipolar and two ring configurations, are identified experimentally and numerically. Designing cholesteric liquid crystal microdroplets on thin long threads opens new routes to produce fibre waveguides decorated with complex microresonators.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2013 Hot Papers