Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 490030
Title Colloidal liquid crystals in rectangular confinement: theory and experiment
Author(s) Lewis, A.H.; Garlea, I.; Alvarado, J.; Dammone, O.J.; Howell, P.D.; Majumdar, A.; Mulder, B.; Lettinga, M.P.; Koenderink, G.H.; Aarts, D.G.A.L.
Source Soft Matter 10 (2014)39. - ISSN 1744-683X - p. 7865 - 7873.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1039/c4sm01123f
Department(s) Laboratory of Cell Biology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2014
Keyword(s) cell-sized confinement - de-gennes theory - alignment - phases - interfaces - surfaces - defects
Abstract We theoretically and experimentally study nematic liquid crystal equilibria within shallow rectangular wells. We model the wells within a two-dimensional Oseen-Frank framework, with strong tangent anchoring, and obtain explicit analytical expressions for the director fields and energies of the 'diagonal' and 'rotated' solutions reported in the literature. These expressions separate the leading-order defect energies from the bulk distortion energy for both families of solutions. The continuum Oseen-Frank study is complemented by a microscopic mean-field approach. We numerically minimize the mean-field functional, including the effects of weak anchoring, variable order and random initial conditions. In particular, these simulations suggest the existence of higher-energy metastable states with internal defects. We compare our theoretical results to experimental director profiles, obtained using two types of filamentous virus particles, wild-type fd-virus and a modified stiffer variant (Y21M), which display nematic ordering in rectangular chambers, as found by confocal scanning laser microscopy. We combine our analytical energy expressions with experimentally recorded frequencies of the different equilibrium states to obtain explicit estimates for the extrapolation length, defined to be the ratio of the nematic elastic constant to the anchoring coefficient, of the fd-virus.
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