Fluctuation-driven 1st-order isotropic-to-tetrahedratic phase transition
Department of Physics, University of Colorado - Boulder, CO 80309, USA
2 Department of Physics, University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19174, USA
Accepted: 13 February 2001
Motivated in part by recent experiments on liquid crystals with bent-core molecules, which are observed to display a spontaneous chiral symmetry breaking, we introduce a field theory of a 3rd-rank tensor order parameter to describe the isotropic-to-tetrahedratic phase transition that we predict to take place in these materials. We study the critical properties of the corresponding phase transition and find that this transition, continuous at the mean-field level, is generically driven 1st-order by thermal fluctuations.
PACS: 64.60.Ak – Renormalization-group, fractal, and percolation studies of phase transitions / 64.70.Md – Transitions in liquid crystals / 61.30.Cz – Molecular and microscopic models and theories of liquid crystal structure
© EDP Sciences, 2001