Size-Dependent Ordering of Liquid Crystal Droplets with Precise Control Over Size and Interfacial Chemistry
Nicholas L. Abbott and Jugal Gupta. Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1691
The ordering of liquid crystals (LCs) within micrometer-sized systems is dependent on both size and interfacial chemistry. For the important case of LC droplets, however, the availability of reliable data regarding LC ordering has been hindered by an absence of experimental systems that permit precise and independent control over these key parameters. In this presentation, we will describe the preparation of polymeric capsules by a template-based synthesis method that employs monodisperse silica spheres (with diameters of 0.7, 1, 3, 5, 8, and 10 micrometers), and the filling of these capsules with a nematic LC, thus forming polymer-coated LC droplets. This approach provides a level of control over size and interface-dependent ordering of LC droplets that has not been possible in the past, reveals size-dependent changes in topological ordering not anticipated by theoretical considerations, resolves varying observations reported in the literature, and will enable size-dependent properties of LC droplets to be exploited in applications such as photonics and sensing.