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Confined nematic liquid crystal between two spherical boundaries with planar anchoring.

Authors
  • Seyednejad, Seyed Reza
  • Mozaffari, Mohammad Reza
  • Ejtehadi, Mohammad Reza
Type
Published Article
Journal
Physical Review E
Publisher
American Physical Society
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2013
Volume
88
Issue
1
Pages
12508–12508
Identifiers
PMID: 23944475
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Nematic shells of liquid crystals have been provided in microscales. Defect structures in the shells are very essential in the electro-optical applications of such colloidal objects. We have numerically minimized the free energy of symmetric and asymmetric spherical shells of the nematic liquid crystal. Considering degenerate planar anchoring on the surfaces and isotropic nematic elasticity, a variety of defect structures are observed by controlling or varying the thicknesses of the shell and its degree of asymmetry. In symmetric shells, our calculations show that boojums (bipolar) defects appear in thick shells and tetrahedral (baseball) defects in thin shells. In asymmetric shells, while we are in the bipolar regime, the boojums defects transform to trigonal configurations. Free energy landscape shows that in this regime the inner droplet is not stable in the center and it is trapped in an off-center minimum energy position. For the case of thin shells, there are two degenerate director textures with similar tetrahedral configuration of the disclination lines. The levels are split in asymmetric shells. The stability of the inner droplet in the center position depends on director texture. It is stable for one texture and unstable for the other one. For an unstable pattern there is no minimum energy position for the inner droplet and it moves until it touches the outer boundary.

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