(591c) Crystallization of Soft Cuboidal Blue Phase Liquid Crystals in Shells
AIChE Annual Meeting
Thursday, November 17, 2022 - 8:36am to 8:54am
To study the effect of curved confinement on the crystallization of BPs, we employed a microfluidic device to fabricate BP core-shells with different degrees of curvature, shell thickness, and surface anchoring. Sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) were used to enforce homeotropic (normal) and planar surface alignment, respectively. Our results demonstrate that exposing BPI shells to homeotropic anchoring deforms the disclination lines at the interface, leading to a distinct blueshift in Bragg reflection. Moreover, strong confinement and high degrees of curvature can destabilize BPI, which can be attributed to its larger lattice size than BPII. Finally, our computational and experimental studies reveal that the coupling of curvature and confinement in shells with hybrid surface alignment initiates the formation of half-skyrmions excitation at larger thicknesses than those reported for flat geometries. This fundamental knowledge is particularly important for deploying these materials in flexible miniaturized devices such as display technologies and wearable sensors.