Cellular solid behaviour of liquid crystal colloids - 1. Phase separation and morphology

V J Anderson, E M Terentjev, S P Meeker, J Crain, Wilson Poon

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We study the phase ordering colloids suspended in a thermotropic nematic liquid crystal below the clearing point T-ni and the resulting aggregated structure. Small (150 nm) PMMA particles are dispersed in a classical liquid crystal matrix, 5CB or MBBA. With the help of confocal microscopy we show that small colloid particles densely aggregate on thin interfaces surrounding large volumes of clean nematic liquid, thus forming an open cellular structure, with the characteristic size of 10-100 mum inversely proportional to the colloid concentration. A simple theoretical model, based on the Landau mean-field treatment, is developed to describe the continuous phase separation and the mechanism of cellular structure formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean physical journal e
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2001



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