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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.

Original Publication:

Dammone et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 108303 (2012),
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.108303