A Self-Quenched Defect Glass in a Colloid-Nematic Liquid Crystal Composite

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Abstract / Description of output

Colloidal particles immersed in liquid crystals frustrate orientational order. This generates defect lines known as disclinations. At the core of these defects, the orientational order drops sharply. We have discovered a class of soft solids, with shear moduli up to 10(4) pascals, containing high concentrations of colloidal particles (volume fraction phi greater than or similar to 20%) directly dispersed into a nematic liquid crystal. Confocal microscopy and computer simulations show that the mechanical strength derives from a percolated network of defect lines entangled with the particles in three dimensions. Such a "self-quenched glass" of defect lines and particles can be considered a self-organized analog of the "vortex glass" state in type II superconductors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-83
Number of pages5
Issue number6052
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2011

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