Microparticles of arbitrary shapes immersed in the bulk of nematic fluids are known to produce dipolar or quadrupolar elastic distortions that can mediate long-range colloidal interactions. We use two-photon photopolymerization to obtain complex-shaped surface-bound microparticles that are then embedded into a nematic liquid crystal host with a uniform far-field director. By means of three-dimensional imaging with multi-photon excitation fluorescence polarizing microscopy, we demonstrate low-symmetry, long-range elastic distortions induced by the particles in the liquid crystal director field. These director distortions may provide a means for controlling elastic interactions in liquid crystals between custom-designed photopolymerized microparticles attached to confining solid substrates and nematic fluid-borne colloids, thus enabling elasticity-mediated templated self-assembly.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics