Dynamics of disk pairs in a nematic liquid crystal

A Antipova and C Denniston, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 94, 052704 (2016).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.94.052704

We use a hybrid lattice Boltzmann method to study the behavior of sets of ferromagnetic colloidal disks in a nematic liquid crystal. When a weak rotating magnetic field acts on the system, the disks rotate following the magnetic field. This leads to a distortion in the liquid crystal that drives translational motion of the disks. If the concentration of disks is high, disks get locked together: a stable chain configuration is created, where each disk lays on the nearest neighbor. For intermediate concentrations of disks, a different behavior is observed. When disks are rotated by the magnetic field by more than 90. from their initial orientation, the distortion in the liquid crystal leads to a simultaneous flip of both disks. The final disk positions depends only weakly on the initial configuration. Consecutive rotations of magnetic field push disks towards an equidistant configuration. Periodicity of the systems studied and analysis of the flipping motion of a single disk imply that one can use weak rotating magnetic fields to create stable crystal structures of disks.

Return to Publications page