In the bimonthly Debye lunch lectures, young scientists from the Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science present their research.
This Debye Lunch Lecture, Biaxial, Twist-bend, and Splay-bend Nematic Phases of Bananashaped Particles Revealed by Lifting the “Smectic Blanket”, will be given by Massimiliano Chiappini from the Soft Condensed Matter & Biophysics research group.
(M. Chiappini, T. Drwenksi, R. van Roij, M. Dijkstra)
We perform an extensive computational study on the phase behavior of hard banana-shaped particles, and show that biaxial, twist-bend, and splay-bend nematic phases are metastable with respect to a smectic phase for a system of hard bent spherocylinders. However, if the smectic phase is destabilized—either by polydispersity in the particle length or by curvature in the particle shape—stable biaxial, twist-bend, and splay-bend nematic phases are obtained. This provides a unified and consistent picture on the subtle role of particle shape on the phase behavior of bent rods.