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Colloidal particles in blue phase liquid crystals

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3304-3312
Number of pages9
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2015


We study the effect of disorder on the phase transitions of a system already dominated by defects. Micron-sized colloidal particles are dispersed chiral nematic liquid crystals which exhibit a blue phase (BP). The colloids are a source of disorder, disrupting the liquid crystal as the system is heated from the cholesteric to the isotropic phase through the blue phase. The colloids act as a preferential site for the growth of BPI from the cholesteric; in high chirality samples BPII also forms. In both BPI and BPII the colloids lead to localised melting to the isotropic, giving rise to faceted isotropic inclusions. This is in contrast to the behaviour of a cholesteric LC where colloids lead to system spanning defects.

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