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Sidewall control of static azimuthal bistable nematic alignment states

Ladak, S. and Davidson, A.J. and Brown, C.V. and Mottram, N.J. (2009) Sidewall control of static azimuthal bistable nematic alignment states. Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 42 (8). ISSN 0022-3727

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Stable azimuthal alignment states have been created in the plane of a homogeneous layer of nematic liquid crystal by the action of one or more sawtooth sidewalls. The alignment states in devices with two sawtooth sidewall structures, either in-phase or in anti-phase, and with one sawtooth wall opposite a flat wall have been investigated as a function of the sawtooth pitch. The optical textures of the observed states are in excellent agreement with the predictions of nematic Q-tensor theory. The frequencies of occurrence of the different states are broadly consistent with the expected inverse correlation with the Q-tensor predictions for their energy.