Gulliver Seminar : Lisa Tran (Utrecht University)

Lundi 22 mai de 11h30 à 12h30 - Bibliothèque PCT - F3.04

Controlling the self-assembly of molecular and colloidal liquid crystals

Liquid crystals are the basis of the modern display industry because of their unique properties. Yet, liquid crystalline ordering can occur across length scales from nanometric, molecular assemblies to micron-sized colloids. Despite their wide applications, the structures that liquid crystals can form are yet to be fully elucidated. Geometrical constraints can generate patterns and defects - localized, 'melted' regions of disorder that can lower the distortion in the system. In this talk, I will survey my recent work where molecular and colloidal liquid crystals are confined in various geometries. I will begin by presenting a familiar system of a molecular, chiral liquid crystal confined to a spherical shell, with the use of microfluidics. I will then present experiments where surface-active colloids are used in place of traditional surfactants to pattern them at the liquid crystal-water interface. I will then end by surveying ongoing experiments in my group that probe the role of confinement for structuring colloidal liquid crystals, such as cellulose nanocrystals and silica nanorods. These organizing principles provide insight on pattern formation in anisotropic elastic materials, across length scales, the mechanisms of which can be leveraged for designing new technologies.