Edge dislocations of colloidal chains suspended in a nematic liquid crystal
Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal -
CNRS avenue Albert Schweitzer, 33600 Pessac, France
Accepted: 5 February 2001
We report on the formation of edge dislocations in two-dimensional crystals of colloidal chains of particles suspended in a nematic solvent. The systems are obtained from a phase separation of a binary mixture composed of a polymer and a liquid crystal. The colloidal structures are governed by elastic interactions mediated by the nematic matrix. Since the latter one breaks the rotational invariance symmetry, distortions around dislocations cannot be appropriately described by existing theories. We develop a simple elastic model which accounts for this symmetry breaking to gain information on factors governing the chains interaction. We find that rotation and compression/dilatation moduli of the chains are of the same order of magnitude. We also calculate the energies of single and pairs of dislocations. The results should be relevant for other layered systems such as smectics, cholesterics and surfactant lamellar phases in the presence of an external field.
PACS: 61.30.Jf – Defects in liquid crystals / 61.30.Gd – Orientational order of liquid crystals; electric and magnetic field effects on order / 82.70.Dd – Colloids
© EDP Sciences, 2001