Europhys. Lett.
Volume 61, Number 6, March 2003
Page(s) 769 - 775
Section Condensed matter: structure, mechanical and thermal properties
Published online 01 March 2003
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2003-00300-9
Europhys. Lett., 61 (6) , pp. 769-775 (2003)

Thermal fluctuations and anomalous elasticity of homogeneous nematic elastomers

X. Xing and L. Radzihovsky

Department of Physics, University of Colorado - Boulder, CO 80309, USA

(Received 10 December 2002; accepted 15 January 2003)

We present a unified formulation of a rotationally invariant nonlinear elasticity for a variety of spontaneously anisotropic phases, and use it to study thermal fluctuations in nematic elastomers and spontaneously anisotropic gels. We find that in a thermodynamic limit homogeneous nematic elastomers are universally incompressible, are characterized by a universal ratio of shear moduli, and exhibit an anomalous elasticity controlled by a nontrivial low-temperature fixed-point perturbative in $D=3-\epsilon$ dimensions. In three dimensions, we make predictions that are asymptotically exact.

61.41.+e - Polymers, elastomers, and plastics.
64.60.Fr - Equilibrium properties near critical points, critical exponents.
64.60.Ak - Renormalization-group, fractal, and percolation studies of phase transitions.

© EDP Sciences 2003