Volume 78, Number 6, June 2007
Article Number 66001
Number of page(s) 5
Section Condensed Matter: Structural, Mechanical and Thermal Properties
Published online 24 May 2007
EPL, 78 (2007) 66001
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/78/66001

Shape of nematic droplets in smectic membranes

P. V. Dolganov1, H. T. Nguyen2, G. Joly3, V. K. Dolganov1 and P. Cluzeau2

1  Institute of Solid State Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences - 142432, Chernogolovka, Moscow District, Russia
2  Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal, CNRS - Avenue A. Schweitzer, 33600 Pessac, France
3  Laboratoire de Dynamique et Structure des Materiaux Moleculaires, UMR CNRS 8024 Université de Lille I - 59655 Villeneuve d'Ascq, France

received 7 February 2007; accepted in final form 30 April 2007; published June 2007
published online 24 May 2007

We found that the nematic droplets in smectic membranes and the configuration of the c-director field near droplets may rearrange drastically with droplet size and temperature. Investigations were made in the membranes with quadrupolar droplets. Large droplets are nearly circular, whereas small droplets become elongated. The elongation of the droplets increases with decreasing droplet size. At high temperature the droplets are found to be spindlelike with two cusps on their boundary. The observed transformations are explained by the competition between the elastic energy of the director field and the surface tension of the interface between the droplets and the smectic membrane.

61.30.Jf - Defects in liquid crystals .
61.30.Gd - Orientational order of liquid crystals; electric and magnetic field effects on order .
81.16.Dn - Self-assembly .

© Europhysics Letters Association 2007