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Solitary traveling waves or solitons as a new class of active soft matter

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AC electric fields cause three-dimensional orientational fluctuations (solitons) to form and rapidly propagate in confined films of liquid crystals (LCs), offering the basis of a new class of active soft matter (e.g., for accelerating mixing and transport processes in microscale chemical systems). How surface chemistry impacts the formation and trajectories of solitons, however, is not understood. In this project, we show that self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) formed from alkanethiols on gold, which permit precise control over surface chemistry, are electrochemically stable over voltage and frequency windows (<100 V; 1 kHz) that lead to soliton formation in achiral nematic films of 4′-butyl-4-heptyl-bicyclohexyl-4-carbonitrile (CCN-47). Our results provide new approaches for the controlled generation and programming of solitons with complex and precise trajectories, principles that inform new designs of chemical soft matter.

Programming soliton trajectories using self-assembled monolayers (SAMs)

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Soliton-mediated interfacial electrohydrodynamics

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References
 

  • Tang, X.; Atzin, N.; Mozaffari, A.; Das, S.; Abbott, N. L.; de Pablo, J. J. Generation and Propagation of Flexoelectricity-Induced Solitons in Nematic Liquid Crystals. ACS Nano 2024, 18 (16), 10768–10775. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.3c10800.

  • Das, S.; Atzin, N.; Tang, X.; Mozaffari, A.; Pablo, J. de; Abbott, N. L. Jetting and Droplet Formation Driven by Interfacial Electrohydrodynamic Effects Mediated by Solitons in Liquid Crystals. Phys. Rev. Lett. 2023, 131 (9), 098101. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.131.098101.

  • Das, S.; Roh, S.; Atzin, N.; Mozaffari, A.; Tang, X.; De Pablo, J. J.; Abbott, N. L. Programming Solitons in Liquid Crystals Using Surface Chemistry. Langmuir 2022, 38 (11), 3575–3584. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.langmuir.2c00231.

  • Atzin, N.; Mozaffari, A.; Tang, X.; Das, S.; Abbott, N. L.; de Pablo, J. J. A Minimal Model of Solitons in Nematic Liquid Crystals. https://doi.org/10.48550/arxiv.2210.08666.

  • Tang, X.; Mozaffari, A.; Atzin, N.; Das, S.; Abbott, N. L.; de Pablo, J. J. Generation and Propagation of Solitary Waves in Nematic Liquid Crystals. https://doi.org/10.48550/arxiv.2211.01453.

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