Volume 81, Number 6, March 2008
Article Number 66004
Number of page(s) 5
Section Condensed Matter: Structural, Mechanical and Thermal Properties
Published online 25 February 2008
EPL, 81 (2008) 66004
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/81/66004

Cubic blue phases in electric fields

G. P. Alexander1 and D. Marenduzzo2

1  Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics, University of Oxford - 1 Keble Road, Oxford, OX1 3NP, England, UK
2  University of Edinburgh, SUPA, School of Physics - Mayfield Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JZ, Scotland, UK

received 13 November 2007; accepted in final form 22 January 2008; published March 2008
published online 25 February 2008

We investigate numerically the effect of an applied electric field on the physics of cholesteric cubic blue phases. The full hydrodynamic equations of motion are solved via a lattice Boltzmann algorithm which leads to an exact minimisation of the Landau-de Gennes free energy in steady state. This technique is able to reproduce all the main experimental findings including the anomalous electrostriction of blue phase I and the field induced transition to blue phase X. The dynamics of switching is also captured by our simulations and we identify the deformation of double twist cylinders and disclination lines at low field strength as well as the pathway by which the network rearranges during transitions.

61.30.Mp - Blue phases and other defect-phases.
61.30.Gd - Orientational order of liquid crystals; electric and magnetic field effects on order.
83.80.Xz - Liquid crystals: nematic, cholesteric, smectic, discotic, etc.

© EPLA 2008