Microfluidic flow of cholesteric liquid crystals

Wiese, Oliver and Marenduzzo, Davide and Henrich, Oliver (2016) Microfluidic flow of cholesteric liquid crystals. Soft Matter, 12 (45). pp. 9223-9237. ISSN 1744-6848 (https://doi.org/10.1039/c6sm01290f)

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We explore the rheology and flow-induced morphological changes of cholesteric liquid crystal patterns subject to Poiseuille flow within a slab geometry, and under different anchoring conditions at the wall. Our focus is particularly on the behaviour of Cholesteric Fingers of the first kind and of Blue Phase II. Depending on the applied pressure gradient, we observe a number of dynamic regimes with different rheological properties. Our results provide the first insight into the flow response of cholesteric phases with fully two- or three-dimensional director field patterns and normal and planar degenerate anchoring conditions as commonly realised in experiments. They are also of high relevance for a fundamental understanding of complex liquid crystals in confinement and an important step towards future microfluidic applications that are based on cholesteric liquid crystals.