Lock-Key Microfluidics: Simulating Nematic Colloid Advection along Wavy-Walled Channels

Karolina Wamsler, Louise C. Head, Tyler N. Shendruk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Liquid crystalline media mediate interactions between suspended particles and confining geometries, which not only has potential to guide patterning and bottom-up colloidal assembly, but can also control colloidal migration in microfluidic devices. However, simulating such dynamics is challenging because nemato-elasticity, diffusivity and hydrodynamic interactions must all be accounted for within complex boundaries. We model the advection of colloids dispersed in flowing and fluctuating nematic fluids confined within 2D wavy channels. A lock-key mechanism between homeotropic colloids and troughs is found to be stronger for planar anchoring on the wavy walls compared to homeotropic anchoring on the wavy walls due to the relative location of the colloid-associated defects. Sufficiently large amplitudes result in stick-slip trajectories and even permanent locking of colloids in place. These results demonstrate that wavy walls not only have potential to direct colloids to specific docking sites but also to control site-specific resting duration and intermittent elution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3954-3970
Number of pages17
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number19
Early online date16 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • cond-mat.soft


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