Glycerol droplets at a nematic-liquid-crystal–air interface form two different lattices—hexagonal and dense quasihexagonal—which are separated by the energy barrier and can coexist. Director distortions around each droplet form an elastic dipole. The first order transition between the two lattices is driven by a reduction of the dipole-dipole repulsion through reorientation of these dipoles. The elastic-capillary attraction is essential for the both lattices. The effect has a many-body origin.
Physical Review Letters
Copyright 2007 American Physical Society. Available on publisher's site at http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.98.057801.
Nych, A. B.; Institute of Physics, Ukraine; Pergamenshchik, V. M.; Lev, B. I.; Nazarenko, V. G.; Muševič, I.; Škarabot, M.; Lavrentovich, Oleg (2007). Coexistence of Two Colloidal Crystals at the Nematic-Liquid-Crystal-Air Interface. Physical Review Letters 98(5) doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.98.057801. Retrieved from https://oaks.kent.edu/cpippubs/81