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Soft Matter

Meina Yu, Huai Yang, Deng-Ke Yang
When subjected to an AC electric field perpendicular to its layers, the cholesteric planar state may undergo a periodic layer undulation, known as the Helfrich deformation, which generates a color change of the reflected light. The Helfrich deformation of regular cholesteric liquid crystals is, however, unstable and easily taken over by the focal conic state, and thus the color tuning range is narrow. We demonstrated that the Helfrich deformation can be stabilized in a large electric field region by doping a bent dimer with an anomalously small bend elastic constant and dispersing a small amount of polymer network...
November 17, 2017: Soft Matter
Jeroen Rodenburg, Marjolein Dijkstra, René van Roij
We extend Van't Hoff's law for the osmotic pressure to a suspension of active Brownian particles. The propelled particles exert a net reaction force on the solvent, and thereby either drive a measurable solvent flow from the connecting solvent reservoir through the semipermeable membrane, or increase the osmotic pressure and cause the suspension to rise to heights as large as micrometers for experimentally realized microswimmers described in the literature. The increase in osmotic pressure is caused by the background solvent being, in contrast to passive suspensions, no longer at the chemical potential of the solvent reservoir...
November 17, 2017: Soft Matter
In Taek Song, Russell J Stewart
The highly phosphorylated Pc3 proteins, major components of the sandcastle worm adhesive, are sequestered with Mg as spherical sub-granules within heterogeneous secretory granules in adhesive gland cells. The phase behavior of a synthetic phospho-polymethacrylate analog of the Pc3 phosphoproteins, in the presense of Mg(ii), was characterized to determine whether it is chemically possible for the natural adhesive components to be packaged and stored as liquid complex coacervates. Of several multivalent metal salts tested, only MgCl induced complex coacervation of the phospho-copolymer...
November 17, 2017: Soft Matter
Mintai P Hwang, Xiaochu Ding, Jin Gao, Abhinav P Acharya, Steven R Little, Yadong Wang
The aqueous nature of complex coacervates provides a biologically-relevant context for various therapeutic applications. In this sense, biological applications demand a corresponding level of biocompatibility from the polyelectrolytes that participate in complex coacervation. Continued development with naturally-occurring polyelectrolytes such as heparin and chitosan underscore such aims. Herein, we design a synthetic polycation, in which betaine is conjugated to a biodegradable polyester backbone. Betaine is a naturally-occurring methylated amino acid that is ubiquitously present in human plasma...
November 17, 2017: Soft Matter
Rodrigo Ledesma-Aguilar, Gianluca Laghezza, Julia M Yeomans, Dominic Vella
The instabilities of fluid interfaces represent both a limitation and an opportunity for the fabrication of small-scale devices. Just as non-uniform capillary pressures can destroy micro-electrical mechanical systems (MEMS), so they can guide the assembly of novel solid and fluid structures. In many such applications the interface appears during an evaporation process and is therefore only present temporarily. It is commonly assumed that this evaporation simply guides the interface through a sequence of equilibrium configurations, and that the rate of evaporation only sets the timescale of this sequence...
November 17, 2017: Soft Matter
Zhan Ma, Qun-Li Lei, Ran Ni
Designing protocols to dynamically direct the self-assembly of colloidal particles has become an important direction in soft matter physics because of promising applications in the fabrication of dynamic responsive functional materials. Here, using computer simulations, we found that in the mixture of passive colloids and eccentric self-propelled active particles, when the eccentricity and self-propulsion of active particles are high enough, the eccentric active particles can push passive colloids to form a large dense dynamic cluster, and the system undergoes a novel dynamic demixing transition...
November 16, 2017: Soft Matter
Eleftheria Diamanti, Eduart Gutiérrez-Pineda, Nikolaos Politakos, Patrizia Andreozzi, María José Rodriguez-Presa, Wolfgang Knoll, Omar Azzaroni, Claudio A Gervasi, Sergio E Moya
Supported membranes on polymer cushions are of fundamental interest as models for cell membranes. The use of polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs) assembled by the layer by layer (LbL) technique as supports for a bilayer allows for easy integration of the lipid bilayer on surfaces and devices and for nanoscale tunable spacing of the lipid bilayer. Controlling ionic permeability in lipid bilayers supported on PEMs triggers potential applications in sensing and as models for transport phenomena in cell membranes...
November 16, 2017: Soft Matter
Zhujiang Hua, Yang Zhao, Shuhong Dong, Peishi Yu, Yu Liu, Ning Wei, Junhua Zhao
From the macro- to the nanoscale, kirigami structures show novel and tunable properties by tailoring the original two-dimensional sheets. In this study, the large stretchability and failure behavior in graphene nanoribbon kirigami (GNR-k) are obtained using the finite element (FE) method and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The carbon-carbon bond in the FE method is equivalent to a nonlinear Timoshenko beam based on the Tersoff-Brenner potential. All the results from the present FE method are in reasonable agreement with those from our MD simulations using the REBO potential...
November 16, 2017: Soft Matter
Bing Li, Steven M Abel
The adsorption of polymers onto fluid membranes is a problem of fundamental interest in biology and soft materials, in part because the flexibility of membranes can lead to nontrivial coupling between polymer and membrane configurations. Here, we use Monte Carlo computer simulations to study the adsorption of a semiflexible polymer onto a fluid membrane vesicle. Polymer adsorption can significantly impact both the vesicle and polymer shapes, and we identify distinct classes of configurations that emerge as a function of polymer persistence length, membrane bending rigidity, adsorption strength, and vesicle size...
November 16, 2017: Soft Matter
Namsoon Eom, Drew F Parsons, Vincent S J Craig
Extensive research into the surface forces between hydrophobic surfaces has produced experimentally measured interaction forces that vary widely in range and in magnitude. This variability is attributed to interference from surface nanobubbles and the nature of the hydrophobic surface. Whilst the effects of nanobubbles are now recognised and can be addressed, the precise nature of the surface remains a confounding factor in measurements between hydrophobic surfaces. Here we show that a monolayer coating with hydrophobic properties is formed by exposing metal oxide surfaces to palmitic acid vapour...
November 16, 2017: Soft Matter
Cyrus Mostajeran, Mark Warner, Carl D Modes
Non-uniform director fields in flat, responsive, glassy nematic sheets lead to the induction of shells with non-trivial topography on the application of light or heat. Contraction along the director causes metric change, with, in general, the induction of Gaussian curvature, that drives the topography change. We describe the metric change, the evolution of the director field, and the transformation of reference state material curves, e.g. spirals into radii, as curvature develops. The non-isometric deformations associated with heat or light change the geodesics of the surface, intriguingly even in regions where no Gaussian curvature results...
November 16, 2017: Soft Matter
Halie J Martin, B Tyler White, Christopher J Scanlon, Tomonori Saito, Mark D Dadmun
With a growing variety of nanoparticles available, research probing the influence of particle deformability, morphology, and topology on the behavior of all polymer nanocomposites is also increasing. In particular, the behavior of soft polymeric nanoparticles in polymer nanocomposites has displayed unique behavior, but their precise performance depends intimately on the internal structure and morphology of the nanoparticle. With the goal of providing guidelines to control the structure and morphology of soft polymeric nanoparticles, we have examined monomer starved semi-batch nano-emulsion polymerizations that form organic, soft nanoparticles, to correlate the precise structure of the nanoparticle to the rate of monomer addition and crosslinking density...
November 16, 2017: Soft Matter
Magnus Röding
We performed computational screening of effective diffusivity in different configurations of cubes and cuboids compared with spheres and ellipsoids. In total, more than 1500 structures are generated and screened for effective diffusivity. We studied simple cubic and face-centered cubic lattices of spheres and cubes, random configurations of cubes and spheres as a function of volume fraction and polydispersity, and finally random configurations of ellipsoids and cuboids as a function of shape. We found some interesting shape-dependent differences in behavior, elucidating the impact of shape on the targeted design of granular materials...
November 16, 2017: Soft Matter
Radomir Iliev Slavchov, Ivan Boyanov Ivanov
A reasonable adsorption model is one that allows all adsorption parameters (adsorption constant, hard-disc area α, attraction parameter β) of a surfactant at a liquid interface to be predicted accurately as a function of the molecular structure and medium conditions. However, the established adsorption models of van der Waals and Frumkin lead to inconsistencies, such as negative β at water|oil, α significantly larger than the crystallographic area of the molecule, and phase behaviour that contradicts the experimental observations...
November 16, 2017: Soft Matter
Myong In Oh, Anatoly Malevanets, Maxim Paliy, Daan Frenkel, Styliani Consta
When a nano-drop comprising a single spherical central ion and dielectric solvent is charged above a well-defined threshold, it acquires a stable star morphology. In contrast, conducting droplets, will undergo fission. Here we report combined atomistic molecular dynamics and continuum modelling study of star formation of droplets that contain a highly charged ion. We assume that in the continuum model the dielectric response is linear. In this linear continuum model, which is an extension of Rayleigh model, the energy of the drop is comprised of terms analogous to those in Rayleigh model, which are surface energy and electrostatic energy of dielectric droplet charged by a central point charge...
November 15, 2017: Soft Matter
Omar T Mansour, Beatrice Cattoz, Manon Beaube, Morganne Montagnon, Richard K Heenan, Ralf Schweins, Marie-Sousai Appavou, Peter C Griffiths
Small-angle neutron scattering has been used to probe the interfacial structure of foams stabilised by small molecule surfactants at concentrations well below their critical micelle concentration. The data for wet foams showed a pronounced Q(-4) dependence at low Q and noticeable inflexions over the mid Q range. These features were found to be dependent on the surfactant structure (mainly the alkyl chain length) with various inflexions across the measured Q range as a function of the chain length but independent of factors such as concentration and foam age/height...
November 15, 2017: Soft Matter
Yi-Chin Wang, Midori Wakabayashi, Hirokazu Hasegawa, Mikihito Takenaka
An ordered bicontinuous double-diamond (OBDD) morphology was found in polystyrene-block-(poly-4-vinylphenyldimethylvinylsilane-graft-polyisoprene), PS-b-(PVS-g-PI), block-graft copolymer. We obtained a 3D image of the microdomain structure formed in PS-b-(PVS-g-PI) using 3D-TEM. The 3D image shows that the polystyrene (PS) phase consists of two independent and interwoven networks. The structures of the two networks are identical and include tetrapod units that form planar six-membered rings. The features of the networks agree with those in the OBDD morphology, indicating that PS-b-(PVS-g-PI) exhibits ordered three-dimensional OBDD networks with the PS phase in the polyisoprene (PI) matrix phase...
November 15, 2017: Soft Matter
Kuang-Wu Lee, Thorsten Pöschel
We consider electroconvection as a response of nematic liquid crystals to an external electric AC field, in the absence of free charge carriers. Previous experimental and theoretical results emphasized charge carriers as a necessary precondition of electroconvection because free-charges in the fluid can respond to an external electric field. Therefore, ionized molecules are considered as responsible for the driving of electroconvective flows. In experiments, finite conductivity is achieved by adding charge-carrying dye molecules or in non-dyed liquid crystals by impurities of the samples...
November 15, 2017: Soft Matter
C Riekel, M Burghammer, I Snigirev, M Rosenthal
We determined stress-induced deformations and the thermal stability of nanorod-shaped tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) capsids in coffee-ring structures by X-ray nanodiffraction. The hexagonal capsids lattice transforms under compression in the outer boundary zone of the coffee-ring into a tetragonal lattice. The helical pitch of the nanorods increases by about 2.5% across the outer boundary zone while the lateral distance between nanorods decreases continuously across the whole coffee-ring structure by about 2% due to compressive forces...
November 15, 2017: Soft Matter
A Salari, V Gnyawali, I M Griffiths, R Karshafian, M C Kolios, S S H Tsai
Microbubbles have applications in industry and life-sciences. In medicine, small encapsulated bubbles (<10 μm) are desirable because of their utility in drug/oxygen delivery, sonoporation, and ultrasound diagnostics. While there are various techniques for generating microbubbles, microfluidic methods are distinguished due to their precise control and ease-of-fabrication. Nevertheless, sub-10 μm diameter bubble generation using microfluidics remains challenging, and typically requires expensive equipment and cumbersome setups...
November 14, 2017: Soft Matter
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