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 552782
Title Morphing of liquid crystal surfaces by emergent collectivity
Author(s) Kooij, Hanne M. van der; Semerdzhiev, Slav A.; Buijs, Jesse; Broer, Dirk J.; Liu, Danqing; Sprakel, Joris
Source Nature Communications 10 (2019). - ISSN 2041-1723
Department(s) Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2019

Liquid crystal surfaces can undergo topographical morphing in response to external cues. These shape-shifting coatings promise a revolution in various applications, from haptic feedback in soft robotics or displays to self-cleaning solar panels. The changes in surface topography can be controlled by tailoring the molecular architecture and mechanics of the liquid crystal network. However, the nanoscopic mechanisms that drive morphological transitions remain unclear. Here, we introduce a frequency-resolved nanostrain imaging method to elucidate the emergent dynamics underlying field-induced shape-shifting. We show how surface morphing occurs in three distinct stages: (i) the molecular dipoles oscillate with the alternating field (10–100 ms), (ii) this leads to collective plasticization of the glassy network (~1 s), (iii) culminating in actuation of the topography (10–100 s). The first stage appears universal and governed by dielectric coupling. By contrast, yielding and deformation rely on a delicate balance between liquid crystal order, field properties and network viscoelasticity.

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