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Phys Rev Lett. 2007 Sep 21;99(12):127802. Epub 2007 Sep 21.

Levitation, lift, and bidirectional motion of colloidal particles in an electrically driven nematic liquid crystal.

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Liquid Crystal Institute and Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio 44242, USA.


We study electric-field-induced dynamics of colloids in a nematic cell, experimentally and by computer simulations. Solid particles in the nematic bulk create director distortions of dipolar type. Elastic repulsion from the walls keeps the particles in the middle of cell. The ac electric field reorients the dipoles and lifts them to top or bottom, depending on dipole orientation. Once near the walls, the colloids are carried along two antiparallel horizontal directions by nematic backflow. Computer simulations of the backflow agree with the experiment.

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