Electrically controlled topological micro cargo transportation

Bhadwal, A. S. and Mottram, N. J. and Saxena, A. and Sage, I. C. and Brown, C. V. (2020) Electrically controlled topological micro cargo transportation. Soft Matter, 16 (12). pp. 2961-2970. ISSN 1744-6848

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    We demonstrate electrically controlled linear translation and precision positioning of a colloidal particle in a soft matter device. The basis of transportation is the time dependent electric field reconfiguration and manipulation of a topological line defect between two distinct hybrid aligned nematic liquid crystal domains having opposing tilt orientations. Deliberately tuning an applied voltage relative to a low threshold value (5.7 V at 1 kHz) permits defect trapping of the colloidal particle and allows subsequent control over the particle's velocity and bidirectional linear movement over millimeter distances, without the need for externally imposed flow nor for lateral confining walls.