Topological-defect-induced surface charge heterogeneities in nematic electrolytes
M. Ravnik and J. C. Everts
Phys. Rev. Lett. 2020, 125, 037801
We show that topological defects in an ion-doped nematic liquid crystal can be used to manipulate the surface charge distribution on chemically homogeneous, charge-regulating external surfaces, using a minimal theoretical model. In particular, the location and type of the defect encodes the precise distribution of surface charges and the effect is enhanced when the liquid crystal is flexoelectric. We demonstrate the principle for patterned surfaces and charged colloidal spheres. More generally, our results indicate an interesting approach to control surface charges on external surfaces without changing the surface chemistry.