Conﬁnement Induced Splay-to-Bend Transition of Colloidal Rods
30 September 2013
We study the nematic phase of rodlike fd-virus particles conﬁned to channels with wedge-structured walls. Using laser scanning confocal microscopy we observe a splay-to-bend transition at the single particle level as a function of the wedge opening angle. Lattice Boltzmann simulations reveal the underlying origin of the transition and its dependence on nematic elasticity and wedge geometry. Our combined work provides a simple method to estimate the splay-to-bend elasticity ratios of the virus and offers a way to control the position of defects through the conﬁning boundary conditions.