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16 February 2011 Complex light with optical singularities induced by nanocomposites
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Proceedings Volume 7950, Complex Light and Optical Forces V; 79500A (2011)
Event: SPIE OPTO, 2011, San Francisco, California, United States
The nanocomposites on the base of long (5-10μm, o-MWCNTs) and short (~ 2μm, m-MWCNTs) multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) hosted by nematic 5CB were investigated in details by means of polarizing microscopy, studies of electrical conductivity and electro-optical behaviour. The spontaneous self-organization of MWCNTs was observed and investigated both theoretically and experimentally. The efficiency of MWCNT aggregation in these composites is controlled by strong, long ranged and highly anisotropic van der Waals interactions and Brownian motion of individual nanotubes and their aggregates. The simple Smoluchowski approach was used for estimation of the half-time of aggregation. It was shown that aggregation process includes two different stages: fast, resulting in formation of loose aggregates (L-aggregates) and slow, resulting in formation of compacted aggregates (C-aggregates). Both L- and C- aggregates possess extremely ramified fractal borders. Formation of the percolation structures was observed for o-MWCNTs at C=Cp≈0.025-0.05 % wt and for m-MWCNTs at C=Cp≈0.1- 0.25 % wt. A physical model describing formation of C-aggregates with captured 5CB molecules inside was proposed. It shows good agreement with experimentally measured characteristics. It was shown that MWCNTs strongly affect the structural organization of LC molecules captured inside the MWCNT skeleton and of interfacial LC layers in the vicinity of aggregate borders. Moreover, the structure of the interfacial layer, as well as its birefringence, drastically changed when the applied electric voltage exceeded the Freedericksz threshold. Finally, formation of the inversion walls between branches of the neighbouring MWCNT aggregates was observed and discussed for the first time.
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Vlad V. Ponevchinsky, Andrei I. Goncharuk, Sergei V. Naydenov, Longin N. Lisetski, Nikolai I. Lebovka, and Marat S. Soskin "Complex light with optical singularities induced by nanocomposites", Proc. SPIE 7950, Complex Light and Optical Forces V, 79500A (16 February 2011);

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