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Nematic phase transitions in mixtures of thin and thick colloidal rods

Nematic phase transitions in mixtures of thin and thick colloidal rods

Physical Review Letters 94(5): 057801

We report experimental measurements of the phase behavior of mixtures of thin (charged semiflexible fd virus) and thick (fd-PEG, fd virus covalently coated with polyethylene glycol) rods with diameter ratio varying from 3.7 to 1.1. The phase diagrams of the rod mixtures reveal isotropic-nematic, isotropic-nematic-nematic, and nematic-nematic coexisting phases with increasing concentration. In stark contrast to predictions from earlier theoretical work, we observe a nematic-nematic coexistence region bound by a lower critical point. Moreover, we show that a rescaled Onsager-type theory for binary hard-rod mixtures qualitatively describes the observed phase behavior.

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Accession: 049664853

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PMID: 15783700

DOI: 10.1103/physrevlett.94.057801

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