Force between colloidal particles in a nematic liquid crystal studied by optical tweezers

Kenji Takahashi, Masatoshi Ichikawa, Yasuyuki Kimura

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66 Citations (Scopus)


We measure the dependence of the interparticle force F on the distance R between two colloidal particles with hyperbolic hedgehog defects in a nematic liquid crystal using optical tweezers. The particle-defect pair can be regarded as an elastic "dipole" in the electrostatic analogy. In a parallel configuration, where the dipole vectors are parallel with each other, F is attractive and proportional to R-4. However, F becomes repulsive at small R due to the existence of a defect between the particles. In an antiparallel configuration, where the particles directly face each other, F is repulsive over the whole range of R and proportional to R-3.6. In another antiparallel configuration, where two hyperbolic hedgehog defects directly face each other, F is proportional to R-3.6 and F at small R turns out to be attractive upon tilting the dipoles. Furthermore, we yield the force between particles connected by a stringlike defect called a bubblegum defect.

Original languageEnglish
Article number020703
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 25 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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