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Influence of weak anchoring upon the alignment of smectic a liquid crystals with surface pretilt

De Vita, R. and Stewart, I.W. (2008) Influence of weak anchoring upon the alignment of smectic a liquid crystals with surface pretilt. Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 20 (33). p. 335101. ISSN 0953-8984

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Equilibrium configurations for smectic A liquid crystals in a 'bookshelf' geometry are determined from a nonlinear continuum model under strong and weak anchoring conditions at the boundary for the usual director n. Natural boundary conditions are derived for n and the smectic layer normal a when a preferred director orientation np, which generally induces a director pretilt, is prescribed on the boundaries. Two key aspects are examined via the nonlinear equilibrium equations: the separation of n from a and the influence of weak anchoring. The orientations of n and a relative to np may differ significantly and depend very much upon the magnitude of the anchoring strength. These results from a nonlinear theory are natural and novel developments of previous classical linearized models for which . Comparisons are also drawn between solutions for strong and weak anchoring conditions.