Interaction between two spherical particles in a nematic liquid crystal

Jun ichi Fukuda, Holger Stark, Makoto Yoneya, Hiroshi Yokoyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We numerically investigate the interaction between two spherical particles in a nematic liquid crystal mediated by elastic distortions in the orientational order. We pay attention to the cases where two particles with equal radii [Formula presented] impose rigid normal anchoring on their surfaces and carry a pointlike topological defect referred to as a hyperbolic hedgehog. To describe the geometry of our system, we use bispherical coordinates, which prove useful in the implementation of boundary conditions at the particle surfaces and at infinity. We adopt the Landau–de Gennes continuum theory in terms of a second-rank tensor order parameter [Formula presented] for the description of the orientational order of a nematic liquid crystal. We also utilize an adaptive mesh refinement scheme that has proven to be an efficient way of dealing with topological defects whose core size is much smaller than the particle size. When the two “dipoles” composed of a particle and a hyperbolic hedgehog, are in parallel directions, the two-particle interaction potential is attractive for large interparticle distances [Formula presented] and proportional to [Formula presented] as expected from the form of the dipole-dipole interaction, until the well-defined potential minimum at [Formula presented] is reached. For the antiparallel configuration with no hedgehogs between the two particles, the interaction potential is repulsive and behaves as [Formula presented] for [Formula presented], which is stronger than the dipole-dipole repulsion [Formula presented] expected theoretically as an asymptotic behavior for large [Formula presented].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10
Number of pages1
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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