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Phys Rev Lett. 2007 Feb 2;98(5):057801. Epub 2007 Feb 1.

Coexistence of two colloidal crystals at the nematic-liquid-crystal-air interface.

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1
Institute of Physics, prospekt Nauky, 46, Kiev 03039, Ukraine.

Abstract

Glycerol droplets at a nematic-liquid-crystal-air interface form two different lattices--hexagonal and dense quasihexagonal--which are separated by the energy barrier and can coexist. Director distortions around each droplet form an elastic dipole. The first order transition between the two lattices is driven by a reduction of the dipole-dipole repulsion through reorientation of these dipoles. The elastic-capillary attraction is essential for the both lattices. The effect has a many-body origin.

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