Colloidal ionic complexes on periodic substrates: ground state configurations and pattern switching

Samir El Shawish 1, Jure Dobnikar 1, Emmanuel Trizac 2

Physical Review E: Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics 83 (2011) 041403

We theoretically and numerically studied ordering of 'colloidal ionic clusters' on periodic substrate potentials as those generated by optical trapping. Each cluster consists of three charged spherical colloids: two negatively and one positively charged. The substrate is a square or rectangular array of traps, each confining one such cluster. By varying the lattice constant from large to small, the observed clusters are first rod-like and form ferro- and antiferro-like phases, then they bend into a banana-like shape and finally condense into a percolated structure. Remarkably, in a broad parameter range between single-cluster and percolated structures, we have found stable supercomplexes composed of six colloids forming grape-like or rocket-like structures. We investigated the possibility of macroscopic pattern switching by applying external electrical fields.

  • 1. Jozef Stefan Institute,
    Jozef Stefan Institute
  • 2. LPTMS,
    University Paris Sud