Evidence of the hexagonal columnar liquid-crystal phase of hard colloidal platelets by high-resolution SAXS

The European Physical Journal E (Impact Factor: 2.18). 03/2005; 16(3):253-258. DOI: 10.1140/epje/i2004-10080-6
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We report Small-Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) measurements of the columnar phase of hard colloidal gibbsite platelets. We have been able to create large oriented domains of the columnar phase both perpendicular and parallel to the sample wall, varying the volume fraction of platelets and adding non-adsorbing polymer to the dispersion. In conjunction with the increased resolution of the SAXS setup, this allowed a detailed analysis of the columnar phase, providing unambiguous evidence for the hexagonal nature of the phase.

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    ABSTRACT: We consider colloidal platelets under the influence of gravity and an external aligning (magnetic) field. The system is studied using a fundamental measures density functional theory for model platelets of circular shape and vanishing thickness. In the gravity-free case, the bulk phase diagram exhibits paranematic-nematic phase coexistence that vanishes at an upper critical point upon increasing the strength of the aligning field. Equilibrium sedimentation profiles display a paranematic-nematic interface, which moves to smaller (larger) height upon increasing the strength of gravity (the aligning field). The density near the bottom of the system decreases upon increasing the strength of the aligning field at fixed strength of gravity. Using a simple model for the birefringence properties of equilibrium states, we simulate the color variation with height, as can be observed in samples between crossed polarizers.
    The Journal of Chemical Physics 04/2010; 132(14):144509. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the formation of hexagonal columnar liquid crystal phases in suspensions of large (570 nm diameter), sterically stabilized, colloidal gibbsite platelets in organic solvent. In thin cells these systems display strong iridescence originating from hexagonally arranged columns that are predominantly aligned perpendicularly to the cell walls. Small angle X-ray scattering and polarization microscopy indicate the presence of orientational fluctuations in the hexagonal columnar liquid crystal phase. The presence of decoupling of the average platelet orientation and the column axis as well as column undulations leading to a decrease of the effective column diameter are discussed. The fact that these phenomena are particularly pronounced in the vertical direction and are enhanced toward the bottom part of the system points to the role of gravitational compaction on the structure.
    Langmuir 09/2010; 26(17):14182-7. · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using fundamental measure density functional theory we investigate paranematic-nematic and nematic-nematic phase coexistence in binary mixtures of circular platelets with vanishing thicknesses. An external magnetic field induces uniaxial alignment and acts on the platelets with a strength that is taken to scale with the platelet area. At particle diameter ratio λ = 1.5 the system displays paranematic-nematic coexistence. For λ = 2, demixing into two nematic states with different compositions also occurs, between an upper critical point and a paranematic-nematic-nematic triple point. Increasing the field strength leads to shrinking of the coexistence regions. At high enough field strength a closed loop of immiscibility is induced and phase coexistence vanishes at a double critical point above which the system is homogeneously nematic. For λ = 2.5, besides paranematic-nematic coexistence, there is nematic-nematic coexistence which persists and hence does not end in a critical point. The partial orientational order parameters along the binodals vary strongly with composition and connect smoothly for each species when closed loops of immiscibility are present in the corresponding phase diagram.
    Journal of Physics Condensed Matter 05/2011; 23(19):194111. · 2.22 Impact Factor

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