Orientational transition in a nematic liquid crystal at a patterned surface
Atherton, T. J.
Sambles, J. Roy
University of Exeter
Physical Review E
American Physical Society
We consider a semi-infinite nematic in contact with a periodic patterned surface with alternate planar and homeotropic stripes. Extending the work of Barbero et al., we find the free energy (assuming K1=K3) for the situations where the easy direction on the planar stripe is either perpendicular or parallel to the length of the stripes. We find the bulk free energy difference between the structures to be proportional to √ K2/K1 and so we consider the possibility of a spontaneous transition between the two states if the azimuthal anchoring energy is sufficiently weak and K1≠K2. We compute the critical azimuthal anchoring energy for such a transition in terms of the relative width of the stripes and the period of the pattern and find it to be ~10−6 J m−2, comparable to experimental values.
T. J. Atherton and J. Roy Sambles, Physical Review E, Vol. 74, article 022701 (2006) "Copyright © 2006 by the American Physical Society."
74 (2), article 022701