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Simple model for biaxial smectic-A liquid-crystal phases

Teixeira, P.I.C. and Osipov, Mikhail and Luckhurst, G.R. (2006) Simple model for biaxial smectic-A liquid-crystal phases. Physical Review E, 73 (6). 061708. ISSN 1539-3755

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We have generalized the McMillan theory of liquid crystalline smectic order in uniaxial particle fluids to biaxial particles. Upon varying the control parameter, a uniaxial nematic phase may: (i) order biaxially first, then smectically; (ii) order smectically first, then biaxially; and (iii) simultaneously order biaxially and smectically. We investigate, in the limit of complete orientational order of the molecular major axes, which of these scenarios are realized for a simple model of particles with the symmetry of rectangular parallelepipeds. We also present a generic variational derivation of the theory based on the identification of the dominant order parameters for the most ordered phase.