Colloidal particles disturb the alignment of rod-like molecules of liquid crystals, giving rise to long-range interactions that minimize the free energy of distorted regions. Particle shape and topology are known to guide this self-assembly process. However, how chirality of colloidal inclusions affects these long-range interactions is unclear. Here we study the effects of distortions caused by chiral springs and helices on the colloidal self-organization in a nematic liquid crystal using laser tweezers, particle tracking and optical imaging. We show that chirality of colloidal particles interacts with the nematic elasticity to predefine chiral or racemic colloidal superstructures in nematic colloids. These findings are consistent with numerical modelling based on the minimization of Landau-de Gennes free energy. Our study uncovers the role of chirality in defining the mesoscopic order of liquid crystal colloids, suggesting that this feature may be a potential tool to modulate the global orientated self-organization of these systems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering