Force induced formation of twisted chiral ribbons

Research paper by Andrew Balchunas, Leroy L. Jia, Mark Zakhary, Zvonimir Dogic, Robert A. Pelcovits, Thomas R. Powers

Indexed on: 18 Apr '19Published on: 17 Apr '19Published in: arXiv - Physics - Soft Condensed Matter


We study the emergence of helical structures subjected to a stretching force, demonstrating that the force transforms disk-shaped colloidal membranes into twisted chiral ribbons of predetermined handedness. Using an experimental technique that enforces torque-free boundary conditions we simultaneously measure the force-extension curve and quantify the shape of emergent ribbons. An effective theory that accounts for the membrane bending energy and uses geometric properties of the edge to model the internal liquid crystalline degrees of freedom explains both the measured force-extension curve and shape of the twisted ribbons in response to an applied force.