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Orientational distribution functions and order parameters in "de Vries"-type smectics : a simulation study

Jenz, Frank and Osipov, Mikhail A. and Jagiella, Stefan and Giesselmann, Frank (2016) Orientational distribution functions and order parameters in "de Vries"-type smectics : a simulation study. Journal of Chemical Physics, 145 (13). ISSN 0021-9606

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Simple smectic A liquid crystal phases with different types of prescribed orientational distribution functions have been simulated and compared in order to study the possibility to distinguish between the Maier-Saupe type and cone-like orientational distributions using the popular method of Davidson et al. This method has been used to extract the orientational distribution functions from simulated diffraction patterns, and the results have been compared with actual distribution functions which have been prescribed during simulations. It has been shown that it is indeed possible to distinguish between these two qualitatively different types of orientational distribution already from the shape of the 2D diffraction pattern. Moreover, typical experimental diffraction patterns for ”de Vries”-type smectic liquid crystals appear to be close to the ones which have been simulated using the prescribed Maier-Saupe orientational distribution function.