Mesophase behaviour of polyhedral particles

Umang Agarwal, Fernando A. Escobedo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

277 Scopus citations

Abstract

Translational and orientational excluded-volume fields encoded in particles with anisotropic shapes can lead to purely entropy-driven assembly of morphologies with specific order and symmetry. To elucidate this complex correlation, we carried out detailed Monte Carlo simulations of six convex space-filling polyhedrons, namely, truncated octahedrons, rhombic dodecahedrons, hexagonal prisms, cubes, gyrobifastigiums and triangular prisms. Simulations predict the formation of various new liquid-crystalline and plastic-crystalline phases at intermediate volume fractions. By correlating these findings with particle anisotropy and rotational symmetry, simple guidelines for predicting phase behaviour of polyhedral particles are proposed: high rotational symmetry is in general conducive to mesophase formation, with low anisotropy favouring plastic-solid behaviour and intermediate anisotropy (or high uniaxial anisotropy) favouring liquid-crystalline behaviour. It is also found that dynamical disorder is crucial in defining mesophase behaviour, and that the apparent kinetic barrier for the liquid-mesophase transition is much lower for liquid crystals (orientational order) than for plastic solids (translational order). © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-235
Number of pages6
JournalNature Materials
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 13 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-C1-018-02
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by a Department of Energy Basic Energy Science Grant ER46517. This publication is based on work supported in part by award no. KUS-C1-018-02, made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

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