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Liquid crystalline phases in suspensions of pigments in non-polar solvents

Klein, Susanne; Richardson, R. M.; Eremin, Alexey

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Dr Susanne Klein
Associate Professor in EPSRC Manufacturing Fellow

R. M. Richardson

Alexey Eremin


Jan PF Lagerwall

Giusy Scalia


We will discuss colloid suspensions of pigments and compare their electro-optic properties with those of traditional dyed low molecular weight liquid crystal systems. There are several potential advantages of colloidal suspensions over low molecular weight liquid crystal systems: a very high contrast because of the high orientational order parameter of suspensions of rod shaped nano-particles, the excellent light fastness of pigments as compared to dyes and high colour saturations resulting from the high loading of the colour stuff. Although a weak `single-particle' electro-optic response can be observed in dilute suspensions, the response is very much enhanced when the concentration of the particles is sufficient to lead to a nematic phase. Excellent stability of suspensions is beneficial for experimental observation and reproducibility, but it is a fundamental necessity for display applications. We therefore discuss a method to achieve long term stability of dispersed pigments and the reasons for its success. Small angle X-ray scattering was used to determine the orientational order parameter of the suspensions as a function of concentration and the dynamic response to an applied electric field. Optical properties were investigated for a wide range of pigment concentrations. Electro-optical phenomena, such as field-induced birefringence and switching, were characterised. In addition, mixtures of pigment suspensions with small amounts of ferro uids show promise as future magneto-optical materials.


Klein, S., Richardson, R. M., & Eremin, A. (2016). Liquid crystalline phases in suspensions of pigments in non-polar solvents. In J. P. Lagerwall, & G. Scalia (Eds.), Liquid Crystals with Nano and Microparticles (847-870). Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Company

Publication Date Dec 10, 2016
Deposit Date Jan 19, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jan 19, 2018
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 847-870
Series Title Series in Soft Condensed Matter
Series Number 7
Book Title Liquid Crystals with Nano and Microparticles
Chapter Number 26
ISBN 9789814619257
Keywords colloidal suspensions, liquid crystals, pigments, birefringence, X-ray scattering, magneto-optical response
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