Volume 62, Number 4, May 2003
|Page(s)||526 - 532|
|Section||Condensed matter: structure, mechanical and thermal properties|
|Published online||01 May 2003|
Coupling between the nematic/isotropic transition and a thickness transition: A theoretical approach
Physique de la Matière Condensée, Collège de France, URA 792 du
CNRS 11 place Marcelin Berthelot, 75005 Paris, France
2 Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal, UPR 8641 av. du Docteur Schweitzer, 33600 Pessac, France
Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 20 March 2003
In this letter, we develop a theoretical model of the effect of a free surface on the nematic-to-isotropic phase transition in a confined geometry. Simply by coupling a bulk first-order phase transition with a thickness-dependent elastic distortion field in a Landau-like description, the model predicts a coexistence at equilibrium between the isotropic and the nematic phases at two different thicknesses. A phase diagram is constructed in the temperature-thickness plane and a comparison is given with experimental results obtained on thin films (van Effenterre D., Ober R., Valignat M. P. and Cazabat A. M., Phys. Rev. Lett. 87(2001) 125701).
PACS: 64.70.Md – Transitions in liquid crystals / 68.60.-p – Physical properties of thin films, nonelectronic / 61.30.Pq – Microconfined liquid crystals: droplets, cylinders, randomly confined liquid crystals, polymer dispersed liquid crystals, and porous systems
© EDP Sciences, 2003
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