Connectivity, not density, dictates percolation in nematic liquid crystals of slender nanoparticles

Shari Finner (Corresponding author), Tanja Schilling, Paul van der Schoot

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Abstract

We show by means of continuum theory and simulations that geometric percolation in uniaxial nematics of hard slender particles is fundamentally different from that in isotropic dispersions. In the nematic, percolation depends only very weakly on the density and is, in essence, determined by a distance criterion that defines connectivity. This unexpected finding has its roots in the nontrivial coupling between the density and the degree of orientational order that dictate the mean number of particle contacts. Clusters in the nematic are much longer than wide, suggesting the use of nematics for nanocomposites with strongly anisotropic transport properties.
Original languageEnglish
Article number097801
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume122
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2019

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