Phase diagram of binary colloidal rod-sphere mixtures from a 3D real-space analysis of sedimentation–diffusion equilibria
Self-assembly of binary particle systems offers many new opportunities for materials science. Here, we studied sedimentation equilibria of silica rods and spheres, using quantitative 3D confocal microscopy. We determined not only pressure, density and order parameter profiles, but also the experimental phase diagram exhibiting a stable binary smectic liquid-crystalline phase (Sm2). Using computer simulations we confirmed that the Sm2-phase can be stabilized by entropy alone, which opens up the possibility of combining new materials properties at a wide array of length scales.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Liquid crystals