Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Engineering Physics


Abstract: Controlling the alignment and orientations of colloidal inclusions in liquid crystals are of particular interest to the field soft condensed matter physics due to their potential technological applications. Liquid crystals are different from isotropic fluid due to their highly anisotropic interactions with surfaces, which defines the boundary conditions for the constituents of nematic molecules and colloidal particles. In this paper, we show that by balancing the competing aligning effects of surface functionalization and the net electric field, we can control the surface alignment of the nematic molecules. We can control the orientation of shape-anisotropic particles like platelets dispersed in an aligned nematic host by harnessing the ionic content in the bulk and at the colloidal surfaces. The resulting anisotropic elastic and electrostatic interactions allow the construction of colloidal crystals with adjustable symmetries and orientations of the nematic inclusions.

Available for download on Thursday, October 01, 2020