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Open Access research with a European policy impact...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC).

EPRC is a leading institute in Europe for comparative research on public policy, with a particular focus on regional development policies. Spanning 30 European countries, EPRC research programmes have a strong emphasis on applied research and knowledge exchange, including the provision of policy advice to EU institutions and national and sub-national government authorities throughout Europe.

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Mean-field theory of a nematic liquid crystal doped with anisotropic nanoparticles

Gorkunov, M.V. and Osipov, Mikhail (2011) Mean-field theory of a nematic liquid crystal doped with anisotropic nanoparticles. Soft Matter, 7 (9). pp. 4348-4356. ISSN 1744-683X

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Abstract

In the framework of molecular mean-field theory we study the effect of nanoparticles embedded in nematic liquid crystals on the orientational ordering and nematic–isotropic phase transition. We show that spherically isotropic nanoparticles effectively dilute the liquid crystal medium and decrease the nematic–isotropic transition temperature. At the same time, anisotropic nanoparticles become aligned by the nematic host and, reciprocally, improve the liquid crystal alignment. The theory clarifies the microscopic origin of the experimentally observed shift of the isotropic–nematic phase transition and an improvement of the nematic order in composite materials. A considerable softening of the first order nematic–isotropic transition caused by strongly anisotropic nanoparticles is also predicted.