Nanoparticle self-assembly at the interface of liquid crystal droplets

Rahimi, Mohammad
Roberts, Tyler F
Armas-Pérez, Julio C
Wang, Xiaoguang
Büküşoğlu, Emre
Abbott, Nicholas L
de Pablo, Juan Jose
Nanoparticles adsorbed at the interface of nematic liquid crystals are known to form ordered structures whose morphology depends on the orientation of the underlying nematic field. The origin of such structures is believed to result from an interplay between the liquid crystal orientation at the particles' surface, the orientation at the liquid crystal's air interface, and the bulk elasticity of the underlying liquid crystal. In this work, we consider nanoparticle assembly at the interface of nematic droplets. We present a systematic study of the free energy of nanoparticle-laden droplets in terms of experiments and a Landau-de Gennes formalism. The results of that study indicate that, even for conditions under which particles interact only weakly at flat interfaces, particles aggregate at the poles of bipolar droplets and assemble into robust, quantized arrangements that can be mapped onto hexagonal lattices. The contributions of elasticity and interfacial energy corresponding to different arrangements are used to explain the resulting morphologies, and the predictions of the model are shown to be consistent with experimental observations. The findings presented here suggest that particle-laden liquid crystal droplets could provide a unique and versatile route toward building blocks for hierarchical materials assembly.


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Blue phases of liquid crystals represent unique ordered states of matter in which arrays of defects are organized into striking patterns. Most studies of blue phases to date have focused on bulk properties. In this work, we present a systematic study of blue phases confined into spherical droplets. It is found that, in addition to the so-called blue phases I and II, several new morphologies arise under confinement, with a complexity that increases with the chirality of the medium and with a nature that can ...
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Very recently, searching for new topological nodal line semimetals (TNLSs) and drum-head-like (DHL) surface states has become a hot topic in the field of physical chemistry of materials. Via first principles, in this study, a synthesized CsCl type binary alloy, TiOs, was predicted to be a TNLS with three topological nodal lines (TNLs) centered at the X point in the k(x/y/z) = pi plane, and these TNLs, which are protected by mirror, time reversal (T) and spatial inversion (P) symmetries, are perpendicular to...
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The measurement of iridium (Ir) in atmospheric samples is important because it gives information on the short-term flux of extraterrestrial material without interference from fragmentation products from large bodies. Such information cannot be obtained from sediment samples, because sediment samples integrate over millions of years and include contributions of large bodies impacted in that time period. In addition to flux information, through the analysis of Ir in atmospheric samples we can also evaluate a ...
Citation Formats
M. Rahimi et al., “Nanoparticle self-assembly at the interface of liquid crystal droplets,” PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, pp. 5297–5302, 2015, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: