Volume 81, Number 1, January 2008
Article Number 16001
Number of page(s) 6
Section Condensed Matter: Structural, Mechanical and Thermal Properties
Published online 22 November 2007
EPL, 81 (2008) 16001
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/81/16001

Alignment memory of a nematic liquid crystal and thermal isotropization of the surface adsorbed layer

A. B. Nych1, 2, D. Yu. Reznikov2, O. P. Boiko1, V. G. Nazarenko1, V. M. Pergamenshchik1, 3 and P. Bos2

1  Institute of Physics - Kiev 03039, Ukraine
2  Liquid Crystal Institute and Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program, Kent State University Kent, OH 44242, USA
3  Korea University, Display & Semiconductor Physics - Jochiwon-eup, Yeongi-gun, Chungnam 339-700, South Korea

received 2 August 2007; accepted in final form 1 November 2007; published January 2008
published online 22 November 2007

We use a digital image analysis of the schlieren textures to study the effect of memory of the surface anisotropy in a nematic-liquid-crystal cell and establish its relation to the surface adsorbed molecular layer. The anisotropy is induced on an isotropic glass surface by a flow of the nematic liquid. The proposed technique allows us to quantify the alignment and its changes under the effect of temperature. The temperature at which the memory of the alignment texture is lost is interpreted as the temperature of the full isotropization of the initial anisotropic surface layer adsorbed during the flow: the molecules oriented along the flow are thermally desorbed whereas newly adsorbed bulk molecules have isotropic distribution. The measured temperature dependence of the director alignment texture is used to estimate the adsorption energy of the liquid-crystal molecule onto the surface.

61.30.-v - Liquid crystals.
79.60.Dp - Adsorbed layers and thin films.

© EPLA 2008