Towards a chemistry of colloids
Professor Colin Denniston
Department of Applied Mathematics
University of Western Ontario
Abstract: Colloids in a simple fluid interact primarily with central forces. As a result, they tend to form the same sort of crystal structures seen for hard spheres, namely fcc and bcc crystals. In order to create a wider variety of structures, a richer "chemistry" of colloidal particles is needed. One way to do this is to put colloidal particles into a liquid crystal solvent where they induce topological defects due to their incompatible shape. These topological defects act like charges bound to the colloids with long range interactions. Individual colloids can have the analogue of dipolar or quadropolar moments in a nematic. Recently we have demonstrated that spherical particles in a cholesteric liquid crystal can generate a tetravalent bonding structure and can form double bonded chains.
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