Issue 9, 2019

Biaxial nematics of hard cuboids in an external field


By computer simulation, we model the phase behaviour of colloidal suspensions of board-like particles under the effect of an external field and assess the still disputed occurrence of the biaxial nematic (NB) liquid crystal phase. The external field promotes the rearrangement of the initial isotropic (I) or uniaxial nematic (NU) phase and the formation of the NB phase. In particular, very weak field strengths are sufficient to spark a direct I–NB or NU–NB phase transition at the self-dual shape, where prolate and oblate particle geometries fuse into one. By contrast, forming the NB phase at any other geometry requires stronger fields and thus reduces the energy efficiency of the phase transformation. Our simulation results show that self-dual shaped board-like particles with moderate anisotropy are able to form NB liquid crystals under the effect of a surprisingly weak external stimulus and suggest a path to exploit low-energy uniaxial-to-biaxial order switching.

Graphical abstract: Biaxial nematics of hard cuboids in an external field

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Article information

Article type
07 Nov 2018
22 Dec 2018
First published
13 Feb 2019
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Soft Matter, 2019,15, 1922-1926

Biaxial nematics of hard cuboids in an external field

A. Cuetos, E. Mirzad Rafael, D. Corbett and A. Patti, Soft Matter, 2019, 15, 1922 DOI: 10.1039/C8SM02283F

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