Electric Field Controlled Columnar and Planar Patterning of Cholesteric Colloids

G. D'Adamo, D. Marenduzzo, C. Micheletti, E. Orlandini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We study how dispersions of colloidal particles in a cholesteric liquid crystal behave under a time-dependent electric field. By controlling the amplitude and shape of the applied field wave, we show that the system can be reproducibly driven out of equilibrium through different kinetic pathways and navigated through a glassylike free energy landscape encompassing many competing metastable equilibria. Such states range from simple Saturn rings to complex structures featuring amorphous defect networks, or stacks of disclination loops. A nonequilibrium electric field can also trigger the alignment of particles into columnar arrays, through defect-mediated force impulses, or their repositioning within a plane. Our results are promising in terms of providing new avenues towards controlled patterning and self-assembly of soft colloid-liquid crystal composite materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number177801
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume114
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2015

Keywords

  • NEMATIC LIQUID-CRYSTALS
  • BLUE PHASES
  • PHOTONIC CRYSTALS
  • KNOTS
  • MEMORY
  • FLUIDS
  • LOOPS

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