We formulate a density functional theory that describes the phase behavior of hard rods and depleting polymers, as realized in recent experiments on suspensions of fd virus and nonadsorbing polymer. The theory predicts the relative stability of nematic droplets, stacked smectic columns, and a recently discovered phase of isolated monolayers of rods, or colloidal membranes. We find that a minimum rod aspect ratio is required for stability of colloidal membranes and that collective protrusion undulations are the dominant effect that stabilizes this phase. The theoretical predictions are shown to be qualitatively consistent with experimental and computational results.
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