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Proceedings Paper

Self-supporting liquid crystal composite
Author(s): Julie A. Cleaver; Doris Vollmer; Jason Crain; Wilson Poon
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Paper Abstract

Colloid-liquid crystal composites are a novel type of soft condensed matter, formed from dispersions of colloidal particles in liquid crystalline hosts. Here, we investigate the kinetics of network formation in mixtures of the thermotropic liquid crystal 5CB and nearly hard sphere colloids (polymethylmethacrylate particles), occurring as the liquid crystal moves from the isotropic to the nematic state. In the isotropic phase the particles (volume fraction < 0.2) are homogeneously distributed. While cooling through the isotropic-nematic phase transition the particles are expelled by the liquid crystal, forming a three dimensional network. Using time-resolved laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM) we image the dynamics of the network formation at single particle resolution. The particles perform Brownian motion in the isotropic phase, whereas in the network they remain frozen in position. We observe a broad distribution of the size of the liquid crystal domains, up to a few micrometers. DSC measurements show that the particles do not change the temperature of the phase transition, indicating that the particles do not alter the bulk properties of the liquid crystal.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 December 2002
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 4799, Liquid Crystals VI, (12 December 2002);
Show Author Affiliations
Julie A. Cleaver, The Univ. of Edinburgh (United Kingdom)
Doris Vollmer, The Univ. of Edinburgh (United Kingdom)
Jason Crain, The Univ. of Edinburgh (United Kingdom)
Wilson Poon, The Univ. of Edinburgh (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4799:
Liquid Crystals VI
Iam-Choon Khoo, Editor(s)

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