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Phys Rev Lett. 2006 Sep 22;97(12):127801. Epub 2006 Sep 18.

Colloidal aggregation in a nematic liquid crystal: topological arrest of particles by a single-stroke disclination line.

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Institute of Industrial Science, University of Tokyo, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8505, Japan.


We numerically study many-body interactions among colloidal particles suspended in a nematic liquid crystal, using a fluid particle dynamics method, which properly incorporates dynamical coupling among particles, nematic orientation, and flow field. Based on simulation results, we propose a new type of interparticle interaction in addition to well-known quadrupolar interaction for particles accompanying Saturn-ring defects. This interaction is mediated by the defect of the nematic phase: upon nematic ordering, a closed disclination loop binds more than two particles to form a sheetlike dynamically arrested structure. The interaction depends upon the topology of a disclination loop binding particles, which is determined by aggregation history.

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