Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 39, 2014
Previous Article Next Article

Colloidal liquid crystals in rectangular confinement: theory and experiment

Author affiliations

Abstract

We theoretically and experimentally study nematic liquid crystal equilibria within shallow rectangular wells. We model the wells within a two-dimensional Oseen–Frank framework, with strong tangent anchoring, and obtain explicit analytical expressions for the director fields and energies of the ‘diagonal’ and ‘rotated’ solutions reported in the literature. These expressions separate the leading-order defect energies from the bulk distortion energy for both families of solutions. The continuum Oseen–Frank study is complemented by a microscopic mean-field approach. We numerically minimize the mean-field functional, including the effects of weak anchoring, variable order and random initial conditions. In particular, these simulations suggest the existence of higher-energy metastable states with internal defects. We compare our theoretical results to experimental director profiles, obtained using two types of filamentous virus particles, wild-type fd-virus and a modified stiffer variant (Y21M), which display nematic ordering in rectangular chambers, as found by confocal scanning laser microscopy. We combine our analytical energy expressions with experimentally recorded frequencies of the different equilibrium states to obtain explicit estimates for the extrapolation length, defined to be the ratio of the nematic elastic constant to the anchoring coefficient, of the fd-virus.

Graphical abstract: Colloidal liquid crystals in rectangular confinement: theory and experiment

Back to tab navigation

Article information


Submitted
23 May 2014
Accepted
23 Jul 2014
First published
23 Jul 2014

Soft Matter, 2014,10, 7865-7873
Article type
Paper
Author version available

Colloidal liquid crystals in rectangular confinement: theory and experiment

A. H. Lewis, I. Garlea, J. Alvarado, O. J. Dammone, P. D. Howell, A. Majumdar, B. M. Mulder, M. P. Lettinga, G. H. Koenderink and D. G. A. L. Aarts, Soft Matter, 2014, 10, 7865
DOI: 10.1039/C4SM01123F

Social activity

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements