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Generalized Berreman's model of the elastic surface free energy of a nematic liquid crystal on a sawtoothed substrate

  • Rojas-Gómez, O. A.
  • Romero-Enrique, J. M.
Publication Date
May 18, 2012
Submission Date
May 13, 2012
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.86.041706
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In this paper we present a generalization of Berreman's model for the elastic contribution to the surface free-energy density of a nematic liquid crystal in presence of a sawtooth substrate which favours homeotropic anchoring, as a function of the wavenumber of the surface structure $q$, the tilt angle $\alpha$ and the surface anchoring strength $w$. In addition to the previously reported non-analytic contribution proportional to $q\ln q$, due to the nucleation of disclination lines at the wedge bottoms and apexes of the substrate, the next-to-leading contribution is proportional to $q$ for a given substrate roughness, in agreement with Berreman's predictions. We characterise this term, finding that it has two contributions: the deviations of the nematic director field with respect to the corresponding to the isolated disclination lines, and their associated core free energies. Comparison with the results obtained from the Landau-de Gennes model shows that our model is quite accurate in the limit $wL>1$, when strong anchoring conditions are effectively achieved.

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