Bulletin of the American Physical Society
APS March Meeting 2018
Monday–Friday, March 5–9, 2018; Los Angeles, California
Session E57: Aspherical Particles in Soft Matter Self-Assembly and Granular Matter I
8:00 AM–11:00 AM,
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
LACC Room: 518
Sponsoring Units: GSOFT GSNP
Chair: Gerd Schroeder-Turk, Murdoch Univ
Abstract: E57.00008 : Chiral symmetry-breaking in C-shaped lock-and key colloids: Monte Carlo simulation studies*
9:48 AM–10:00 AM
(Liquid Crystal Institute, Kent State University)
We model aspherical lock-and-key colloids to explore fundamental mechanisms driving chiral symmetry-breaking and chiral amplification. Recent experiments by Wang and Mason  demonstrated that achiral C-shaped colloidal particles form both right- and left-handed dimers, a form of chiral symmetry-breaking. We explore this phenomenon via Monte Carlo simulation of hard C-shaped particles confined to a plane. We calculate the equilibrium constant associated with dimerization and its dependence on osmotic pressure, and find qualitative agreement with experiment. We find that like-signed dimers tend to phase segregate, and that larger clusters display locally crystalline order. We examine kinetic mechanisms driving chiral phase segregation, and speculate that the mechanism observed here may be related to spontaneous chiral phase separation in other systems such as bent-core liquid crystals. These results provide new insight into mechanisms of chiral symmetry-breaking, chiral amplification, and possible origins of biological homochirality.  P.-Y. Wang and T.G. Mason, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 137 15308 (2015).
*Work supported by NSF DMR-1409658.
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