Observation of the Chiral and Achiral Hexatic Phases of Self-assembled Micellar polymers

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Abstract

We report the discovery of a thermodynamically stable line hexatic (N + 6) phase in a three-dimensional (3D) system made up of self-assembled polymer-like micelles of amphiphilic molecules. The experimentally observed phase transition sequence nematic (N)⇌N + 6⇌two-dimensional hexagonal (2D-H) is in good agreement with the theoretical predictions. Further, the present study also brings to light the effect of chirality on the N + 6 phase. In the chiral N + 6 phase the bond-orientational order within each "polymer" bundle is found to be twisted about an axis parallel to the average polymer direction. This structure is consistent with the theoretically envisaged Moiré state, thereby providing the first experimental demonstration of the Moiré structure. In addition to confirming the predictions of fundamental theories of two-dimensional melting, these results are relevant in a variety of situations in chemistry, physics and biology, where parallel packing of polymer-like objects are encountered.

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Authors
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External organisations
  • Raman Research Institute
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Chemistry
Original languageEnglish
Article number32313
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug 31
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes