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Defect topologies in a nematic liquid crystal near a patchy colloid

Melle, Michael; Schlotthauer, Sergej; Mazza, Marco G.; Klapp, Sabine H. L.; Schoen, Martin

Using isothermal-isobaric Monte Carlo simulations we investigate defect topologies due to a spherical colloidal particle immersed in a nematic liquid crystal. Defects arise because of the competition between the preferential orientation at the colloid's surface and the far-field director 𝒏ˆ0. Considering a chemically homogeneous colloid as a special case we observe the well-known surface and saturn ring defect topologies for weak and strong perpendicular anchoring, respectively; for homogeneous, strong parallel anchoring we find a boojum defect topology that has been seen experimentally [see P. Poulin and D. A. Weitz, Phys. Rev. E 57, 626 (1998)] but not in computer simulations. We also consider a heterogeneous, patchy colloid where the liquid-crystal molecules anchor either preferentially planar or perpendicular at the surface of the colloid. For a patchy colloid we observe a boojum ring defect topology in agreement with recent experimental studies [see M. Conradi, M. Ravnik, M. Bele, M. Zorko, S. Žumer, and I. Muševič, Soft Matter 5, 3905 (2009)]. We also observe two other novel defect topologies that have not been reported thus far neither experimentally nor theoretically.
Published in: Journal of Chemical Physics, 10.1063/1.4717619, American Institute of Physics (AIP)
  • This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and AIP Publishing. This article appeared in J. Chem. Phys. 136, 194703 (2012) and may be found at https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4717619.