Ordered Droplet Structures at the Liquid Crystal Surface and Elastic-Capillary Colloidal Interactions

Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 117801 – Published 8 September 2004
I. I. Smalyukh, S. Chernyshuk, B. I. Lev, A. B. Nych, U. Ognysta, V. G. Nazarenko, and O. D. Lavrentovich


We demonstrate a variety of ordered patterns, including hexagonal structures and chains, formed by colloidal particles (droplets) at the free surface of a nematic liquid crystal (LC). The surface placement introduces a new type of particle interaction as compared to particles entirely in the LC bulk. Namely, director deformations caused by the particles lead to distortions of the interface and thus to capillary attraction. The elastic-capillary coupling is strong enough to remain relevant even at the micron-scale when its buoyancy-capillary counterpart becomes irrelevant.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.93.117801

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  • Received 27 February 2004
  • Published 8 September 2004

© 2004 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

I. I. Smalyukh1, S. Chernyshuk2, B. I. Lev2,3, A. B. Nych2, U. Ognysta2, V. G. Nazarenko2, and O. D. Lavrentovich1,*

  • 1Liquid Crystal Institute and Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio 44242, USA
  • 2Institute of Physics, Prospect Nauki 46, Kyiv-39, 03039, Ukraine
  • 3Japan Science and Technology Corporation, Yokoyama Nano-structured Liquid Crystal Project, 5-9-9 Tokodai, Ibaraki 300-2635, Japan

  • *Corresponding authorElectronic address: odl@lci.kent.edu

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