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Spontaneous formation of stringlike clusters and smectic sheets for colloidal rods confined in thin wedgelike gaps

Spontaneous formation of stringlike clusters and smectic sheets for colloidal rods confined in thin wedgelike gaps

Langmuir 29(33): 10529-10538

Monodispersed colloidal rods of β-FeOOH with sizes ranging from 270 to 580 nm in length and 50 to 80 nm in width were synthesized. Narrow wedgelike gaps (0 to 700 nm in height) were formed around the inner bottom edge of the suspension glass cells. Optical microscopic observations revealed the formation of stringlike clusters of the rods and smectic sheets (by spontaneous side-by-side clustering of the strings) in the isotropic phase of the rod suspensions confined in narrow gaps; the electrolyte (HCl) concentrations of the suspensions are 5-40 mM, at which inter-rod interactions are attractive. The strings exhibit different colors that were used to investigate the structures of the strings with the help of interference color theory for thin films. The results are as follows. (1) The rods, lying flat on the gap bottom, are connected side-by-side and stacked upward to form stringlike clusters with different thicknesses depending on the gap height. (2) The stacking numbers (N(sr)) of the rods are estimated to be 1-5. With N(sr) increasing from 2 to 5, the volume fractions (ϕ) of the rods in the strings increased typically from 0.25-0.3 to 0.35-0.42 to reach limiting values (close to the ϕ values of the rods in the bulk smectic phase). (3) Unexpected low-ϕ strings are found in regions with an intermediate height in the gaps. These behaviors of ϕ may be caused by thermal fluctuations of the strings.

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Accession: 055889311

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 23876087

DOI: 10.1021/la402032j

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