Molecular-statistical theory of elasticity in nematic liquid crystals composed of polar and nonpolar molecules

Osipov, M. A. and Antonov, A. A. and Gorkunov, M. V. (2021) Molecular-statistical theory of elasticity in nematic liquid crystals composed of polar and nonpolar molecules. Physical Review E, 103 (5). 052701. ISSN 2470-0053 (

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A molecular-statistical theory of the orientational elasticity of nematic liquid crystals has been developed employing the orientational deformation tensor which describes the rotation of the director. An explicit expression for the general elasticity tensor of the nematic phase has been obtained and the Frank elastic constants are expressed in terms of the three independent parameters of this tensor. Explicit expressions for the Frank elastic constants have been derived in the molecular field approximation in terms of the orientational order parameters and the corresponding coefficients of expansion of the intermolecular potential in spherical invariants. Frank elastic constants have been calculated numerically for nematic liquid crystals composed of both polar and nonpolar molecules together with the orientational order parameters using the classical Gay-Berne model interaction potential and the two of its popular modifications. The polarity of the uniaxial molecular shape has been directly introduced into the model potential by modifying the distance of closest approach. The elastic constants are presented as functions of temperature for different values of the molecular elongation, the anisotropy of the potential well and the molecular shape polarity. It has been shown that the elastic constants are much more sensitive to the details of the intermolecular interaction potential in comparison with the orientational order parameters. In particular, a relatively weak polarity of the molecular shape may result in an unusual decrease of the splay constant K11 which may vanish at some temperature leading to the instability of the homogeneous nematic phase. This may represent a mechanism of the formation of the splay-bend phase.