Marjolein Dijkstra (SCMB) received an NWO-ENW-klein grant with the title ‘Let’s twist again: why colloidal bananas bend and pears splay’
Liquid crystals have different properties in fluid and solid phases and are widely used in LCD screens. In the nematic phase the molecules are mostly aligned along a single preferential axis, while the individual molecular positions themselves are non-ordered. Two new nematic phases were recently discovered which display a spatial variation on this preferential axis. In the ‘twist-bend’ nematic phase, banana-shaped molecules align in a spiral structure; in the ‘splay’ nematic phase, pear-shaped molecules align in a periodic structure. The origin of these chiral and periodic modulations is unknown. We will use colloidal particle simulations in order to better understand them. Read more here.