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Issue 29, 2013
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Microparticles confined to a nematic liquid crystal shell

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A seminal paper [D. R. Nelson, Nano Lett., 2002, 2, 1125.] has proposed that a nematic coating could be used to create a valency for spherical colloidal particles through the functionalization of nematic topological defects. Experimental realizations however question the complex behaviour of solid particles and defects embedded in such a nematic spherical shell. In order to address the related topological and geometrical issues, we have studied micrometer-sized silica beads trapped in nematic shells. We underline the mechanisms that strongly modify the texture of the simple (particle-free) shells when colloidal particles are embedded. Finally, we show how the coupling between capillarity and nematic elasticity offers new ways to control the valence and directionality of shells.

Graphical abstract: Microparticles confined to a nematic liquid crystal shell

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Article information

11 Jan 2013
26 Feb 2013
First published
21 Mar 2013

Soft Matter, 2013,9, 6911-6920
Article type

Microparticles confined to a nematic liquid crystal shell

M. A. Gharbi, D. Seč, T. Lopez-Leon, M. Nobili, M. Ravnik, S. Žumer and C. Blanc, Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 6911
DOI: 10.1039/C3SM00126A

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