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Isotropic, nematic, and lamellar phases in colloidal suspensions of nanosheets

Abstract : The phase diagram of colloidal suspensions of electrically charged nanosheets, such as clays, despite their many industrial uses, is not yet understood either experimentally or theoretically. When the nanosheet diameter is very large (∼100 nm to 1 μm), it is quite challenging to distinguish the lamellar liquid-crystalline phase from a nematic phase with strong stacking local order, often called “columnar” nematic. We show here that newly upgraded smallangle X-ray scattering beamlines at synchrotron radiation facilities provide high-resolution measurements which allow us to identify both phases unambiguously, provided that single domains can be obtained. We investigated dilute aqueous suspensions of synthetic Sb3P2O143− nanosheets that self-organize into two distinct liquid-crystalline phases, sometimes coexisting in the same sample. Close examination of their X-ray reflection profiles in the directions perpendicular to the director demonstrates that these two mesophases are a columnar nematic and a lamellar phase. In the latter, the domain size reaches up to ∼20 μm, which means that each layer is made of >600 nanosheets. Because the lamellar phase was only rarely predicted in suspensions of charged disks, our results show that these systems should be revisited by theory or simulations. The unexpected stability of the lamellar phase also suggests that the rims and faces of Sb3P2O143− nanosheets may have different properties, giving them a patchy particle character.
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Contributor : Jean-Christophe Gabriel Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, June 1, 2022 - 2:15:20 PM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 10:37:45 AM


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Patrick Davidson, Christophe Penisson, Doru Constantin, Jean Christophe Gabriel. Isotropic, nematic, and lamellar phases in colloidal suspensions of nanosheets. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, National Academy of Sciences, In press, 115 (26), pp.6662-6667. ⟨10.1073/pnas.1802692115⟩. ⟨cea-03194249⟩



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