We study the stability of inhomogeneous liquid crystalline states in systems of monodisperse, stiff, charged rods. By means of a bifurcation analysis applied to the Onsager free energy for charged rods in strongly nematic states, we investigate nematic-smectic and nematic-columnar instabilities as a function of the Debye screening length . While the nematic-smectic transition clearly preempts the nematic-columnar one in the regime of strong screening (i.e., small ) a marked stability of hexagonal columnar order is observed at larger screening lengths. The theoretical results are substantiated by Brownian dynamics computer simulation results based on the Yukawa site model. Our connect to experiments on tobacco mosaic virus rods, in particular, but might be relevant for soft rodlike mesogens in strong external directional fields in general.
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Research Article| May 15 2007
Columnar versus smectic order in systems of charged colloidal rods
H. H. Wensink; Columnar versus smectic order in systems of charged colloidal rods. J. Chem. Phys. 21 May 2007; 126 (19): 194901. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.2730819
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