Ionically charged topological defects in nematic fluids
ID Everts, Jeffrey Christopher (Author), ID Ravnik, Miha (Author)

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Charge profiles in liquid electrolytes are of crucial importance for applications such as supercapacitors, fuel cells, batteries, or the self-assembly of particles in colloidal or biological settings. However, creating localized (screened) charge profiles in the bulk of such electrolytes generally requires the presence of surfaces—for example, provided by colloidal particles or outer surfaces of the material—which poses a fundamental constraint on the material design. Here, we show that topological defects in nematic electrolytes can perform as regions for local charge separation, forming charged defect cores and, in some geometries, even electric multilayers, as opposed to the electric double layers found in isotropic electrolytes. Using a Landau-de Gennes-Poisson-Boltzmann theoretical framework, we show that ions highly effectively couple with the topological defect cores via ion solvability and with the local director-field distortions of the defects via flexoelectricity. The defect charging is shown for different defect types—lines, points, and walls—using geometries of ionically screened flat isotropic-nematic interfaces, radial hedgehog point defects, and half-integer wedge disclinations in the bulk and as stabilized by (charged) colloidal particles. More generally, our findings are relevant for possible applications where topological defects act as diffuse ionic capacitors or as ionic charge carriers.

Keywords:condensed matter physics, nematic liquid crystals, topological defects, electrostatic double layer, chemical physics, materials science, soft matter, electrostatic double layer forces, flexoelectricity, charged colloids, interfaces, condensed matter, materials, applied physics, polymers
Work type:Article
Typology:1.01 - Original Scientific Article
Organization:FMF - Faculty of Mathematics and Physics
Publication status:Published
Publication version:Version of Record
Number of pages:17 str.
Numbering:Vol. 11, iss. 1, art. 011054
PID:20.500.12556/RUL-125441 This link opens in a new window
ISSN on article:2160-3308
DOI:10.1103/PhysRevX.11.011054 This link opens in a new window
COBISS.SI-ID:55545603 This link opens in a new window
Publication date in RUL:17.03.2021
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Record is a part of a journal

Title:Physical review. X
Shortened title:Phys. rev., X
Publisher:American Physical Society
COBISS.SI-ID:19686152 This link opens in a new window


License:CC BY 4.0, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Description:This is the standard Creative Commons license that gives others maximum freedom to do what they want with the work as long as they credit the author.

Secondary language

Keywords:fizika kondenzirane snovi, nematski tekoči kristali, topološki defekti, elektrostatska dvojna plast


Funder:EC - European Commission
Funding programme:H2020
Project number:795377
Name:Topological Colloidal Double Layers

Funder:Drugi - Drug financer ali več financerjev
Funding programme:Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA), Ulam programme
Project number:PPN/ULM/2019/1/00257

Funder:ARRS - Agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije
Project number:P1-0099
Name:Fizika mehkih snovi, površin in nanostruktur

Funder:ARRS - Agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije
Project number:J1-2462
Name:Topološka turbulenca v ograjenih kiralnih nematskih poljih

Funder:ARRS - Agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije
Project number:J1-1697
Name:Študij sil znotraj celic s pomočjo deformacij fotonskih kapljic

Funder:UKRI - UK Research and Innovation
Funding programme:EPSRC
Project number:EP/R014604/1
Name:Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences

Funder:Drugi - Drug financer ali več financerjev
Funding programme:COST
Project number:CA17139

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