Unified molecular field theory of nematic, smectic-A, and smectic-C phases

Pajak, Grzegorz and Osipov, Mikhail (2013) Unified molecular field theory of nematic, smectic-A, and smectic-C phases. Physical Review E, 88. 012507. ISSN 1539-3755

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Abstract

A unified mean-field molecular theory of nematic (NU), smectic A (SmA), and smectic C (SmC) liquid crystal phases, composed of uniaxial nonpolar molecules, is developed taking into account the variation of all orientational and translational order parameters in these phases. Numerical results, obtained by direct global minimization of the free energy, are presented in the form of three typical phase diagrams of different topology. Temperature variation of the relevant order parameters in different sequences of phases is analyzed for various cross sections of the phase diagrams. The present model enables one to reproduce all possible sequences of phase transitions between the given phases including isotropic (Iso)-NU-SmA-SmC, Iso-NU-SmC, Iso-SmA-SmC, and Iso-SmC. The properties of the NAC point, where the NU, SmA, and SmC structures coexist, are considered in detail and the shape of the phase diagram in the vicinity of the NAC point is compared with existing experimental data.