Experimental Soft Matter Physics

New review article on liquid crystals in droplets, shells, and fibers released

jpcm g.abs-spinstack copy
The Journal of Physics - Condensed Matter by IOP Publishing has just released our groups' newest review article titled Liquid Crystals in Micron-Scale Droplets, Shells, and Fibers, and it's open access!

(<— Click to check it out)

With careful and succinct discussions of various topics ranging from the characterization of typical liquid crystalline (LC) phases, to the complexities surrounding LC defects under confinement, we're sure that this review will soon become known as one of the "go-to" manuals for both liquid crystal physicists, and chemists; those just beginning in the field, and veteran researchers alike.

In considering the long length of the article, we've carefully sub-sectioned the important works, advancements, and ongoing research contributing to how liquid crystals behave in each of the major curved configurations (i.e. droplets, shells, and fibers). This was done so that anyone interested in knowing more about a particular topic can easily find the right section without having to start reading from the very beginning. At the same time, we include a number of cross-references serving as reminders for the reader to review certain previously described concepts when necessary.

Finally, at the end of each configuration topic we conclude the sections by highlighting the latest research trends which the LC field has shown interest in — for LCs in droplets and shells, it ends with a discussion of active and motile LC systems (inspired by the flocking mechanism in many biological systems) and liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) actuating shells. For LCs in polymer fiber confinement, the section ends with a discussion on textile based gas responsive visual aids, and comparisons to current gas sensing systems.

Here's a brief outline of every section & contents within:

1. Intro
2. The liquid crystalline states of matter
[thermotropic nematics & smectics, order parameter, clarification of terminology for LC orientations, LC deformations & elasticity, cholesterics, LC elastomers (LCEs)]
3. Liquid crystal shells and droplets [microfluidics - what it is, how it works for making LC shells & droplets; issues surrounding interface stabilization & LC alignment control within; topological defects for nematic, cholesteric, smectic droplets and shells; droplet & shell LCE actuatiors; active LC droplets & shells]
4. Core-sheath fibers with encapsulated LC [known behaviors of nematics, smectics, cholesterics in silica cylindrical capillaries; electrospinning basics for inserting LCs into polymer cylindrical (and non-cylindrical) fibers; issues surrounding solvent, polymer concentration and molecular weight choices with particular LCs; various LC molar mass types in polymer fibers; LCE fibers and gas sensing applications]
5. Outlook