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Crystals 2019, 9(3), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst9030171

Impact of Weak Nanoparticle Induced Disorder on Nematic Ordering

1
Jožef Stefan Institute, Jamova 39, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2
Faculty of Physics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Panepistimiopolis, Zografos, 15784 Athens, Greece
3
Institute of High Pressure Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Sokolowska 29/37, 01-142 Warsaw, Poland
4
Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Maribor, Koroška 160, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 20 March 2019 / Accepted: 22 March 2019 / Published: 24 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Liquid Crystals)
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Abstract

Dilute mixtures of nanoparticles (NPs) and nematic liquid crystals (LCs) are considered. We focus on cases where NPs enforce a relatively weak disorder to the LC host. We use a Lebwohl-Lasher semi-microscopic-type modeling where we assume that NPs effectively act as a spatially-dependent external field on nematic spins. The orientational distribution of locally favoured “easy” orientations is described by a probabilistic distribution function P. By means of a mean field-type approach, we derive a self-consistent equation for the average degree of nematic uniaxial order parameter S as a function of the concentration p of NPs, NP-LC coupling strength and P. Using a simple step-like probability distribution shape, we obtain the S(p) dependence displaying a crossover behaviour between two different regimes which is in line with recent experimental observations. We also discuss a possible origin of commonly observed non-monotonous variations of the nematic-isotropic phase temperature coexistence width on varying p. View Full-Text
Keywords: phase behaviour; weak disorder; orientational order phase behaviour; weak disorder; orientational order
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Črešnar, D.; Kyrou, C.; Lelidis, I.; Drozd-Rzoska, A.; Starzonek, S.; Rzoska, S.J.; Kutnjak, Z.; Kralj, S. Impact of Weak Nanoparticle Induced Disorder on Nematic Ordering. Crystals 2019, 9, 171.

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