Shape Selection of Twist-Nematic-Elastomer Ribbons
Copyright 2011 National Academy of Sciences. Available on publisher's site at http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1017658108.
How microscopic chirality is reflected in macroscopic scale to form various chiral shapes, such as straight helicoids and spiral ribbons, and how the degree of macroscopic chirality can be controlled are a focus of studies on the shape formation of many biomaterials and supramolecular systems. This article investigates both experimentally and theoretically how the chiral arrangement of liquid crystal mesogens in twist-nematic-elastomer films induces the formation of helicoids and spiral ribbons because of the coupling between the liquid crystalline order and the elasticity. It is also shown that the pitch of the formed ribbons can be tuned by temperature variation. The results of this study will facilitate the understanding of physics for the shape formation of chiral materials and the designing of new structures on basis of microscopic chirality.