Electric-field-induced transport of microspheres in the isotropic and chiral nematic phase of liquid crystals

Jiyoung Oh, Helen F Gleeson, Ingo Dierking

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    The application of an electric field to microspheres suspended in a liquid crystal causes particle translation in a plane perpendicular to the applied field direction. Depending on applied electric field amplitude and frequency, a wealth of different motion modes may be observed above a threshold, which can lead to linear, circular, or random particle trajectories. We present the stability diagram for these different translational modes of particles suspended in the isotropic and the chiral nematic phase of a liquid crystal and investigate the angular velocity, circular diameter, and linear velocity as a function of electric field amplitude and frequency. In the isotropic phase a narrow field amplitude-frequency regime is observed to exhibit circular particle motion whose angular velocity increases with applied electric field amplitude but is independent of applied frequency. The diameter of the circular trajectory decreases with field amplitude as well as frequency. In the cholesteric phase linear as well as circular particle motion is observed. The former exhibits an increasing velocity with field amplitude, while decreasing with frequency. For the latter, the angular velocity exhibits an increase with field amplitude and frequency. The rotational sense of the particles on a circular trajectory in the chiral nematic phase is independent of the helicity of the liquid crystalline structure, as is demonstrated by employing a cholesteric twist inversion compound.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number022703
    JournalPhysical review. E, Statistical physics, plasmas, fluids, and related interdisciplinary topics
    Early online date23 Feb 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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