Self-Assembly of an Equimolar Mixture of Liquid Crystals and Magnetic Nanoparticles

GP Shrivastav, CRYSTALS, 11, 834 (2021).

DOI: 10.3390/cryst11070834

We studied the equilibrium self-assembly of an equimolar mixture of uniaxial liquid crystals (LCs) and magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) using molecular dynamics simulations. The LCs are modeled by ellipsoids interacting via Gay-Berne potential, and MNPs are represented by dipolar soft spheres (DSS). We found that the LCs show isotropic, nematic, and smectic phases when the mixture is compressed at a fixed temperature. The DSS form chain-like structures, which remain randomly oriented at low densities where the LCs are in the isotropic phase. At intermediate and high densities, the DSS chains align along the nematic and smectic directors of LCs. We found that the DSS inside a chain follow a ferromagnetic ordering. However, the mixture does not show a significant macroscopic magnetization. The extent of nematic order in the DSS remains very similar to the LCs in intermediate densities. At high densities, the DSS have a lower extent of nematic order than the LCs. The structure of the LC-DSS mixture was further analyzed via projected pair correlation functions for distances parallel and perpendicular to directors in the nematic and smectic phases.

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