Dec 9 – 11, 2015
Dipartimento di Fisica, Univ. Bari - INFN Sezione di Bari
Europe/Rome timezone
SM&FT 2015 Computational approaches in Quantum Field Theory, Statistical Mechanics and Complex Systems

The electric dance of cholesteric colloids

Dec 11, 2015, 12:10 PM
Aula B

Aula B


Enzo Orlandini (P)


Dispersions of colloidal particles in liquid crystals are nowadays a subject of intensive studies due to their potential as novel and versatile metamaterials with important applicative avenues such as digital-ink technologies, biosensors and optical devices. In this talk I will report theoretical results, based on lattice Boltzmann simulations, on a novel method to manipulate the spatial arrangements of colloids in cholesteric liquid crystals . By controlling the amplitude and shape of a time-dependent electric field, I will show that the system can be reproducibly driven out of equilibrium through different kinetic pathways and navigated through a glassy-like free energy landscape encompassing many competing metastable equilibria. Such states range from simple Saturn rings to complex structures featuring amorphous defect networks, or stacks of disclination loops. In particular, by using suitable non-equilibrium electric pulses, one can drive colloids from planar to linear, rope-like configurations and vice-versa. These results can stimulate the development of new (e.g. non equilibrium) experimental procedures to control the three-dimensional patterning and self-assembly of colloidal particles suspended in complex fluids as well as prompt the design of new types of switching devices with tunable elastic and electro-optic properties.

Primary author


Prof. Cristian Micheletti (SISSA) Prof. Davide Marenduzzo (The University of Edinburgh) Dr Giuseppe D'Adamo (SISSA, Trieste)

Presentation materials