Spatial confinement governs orientational order in patchy particles

Yasutaka Iwashita, Yasuyuki Kimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Orientational order in condensed matter plays a key role in determining material properties such as ferromagnetism, viscoelasticity or birefringence. We studied purely orientational ordering in closely-packed one-patch colloidal particles confined between flat substrates, where the particles can only rotate and are ordered via the sticky interaction between the patches. For the first time, we experimentally realized a rich variety of mesoscopic patterns through orientational ordering of colloids by controlling patch size and confinement thickness. The combination of experiment and numerical simulation reveals the decisive role of confinement: An ordered state(s) is selected from the (meta)stable options in bulk when it is commensurate with the system geometry and boundary conditions; otherwise, frustration induces a unique order. Our study offers a new means of systematic control over mesoscopic structures via orientational ordering in patchy particles. The system would also possess unique functionalities through the rotational response of the particles to external stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Article number27599
JournalScientific reports
Publication statusPublished - Jun 6 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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