Director distortions and singularities in inhomogeneous fields

Nándor Éber, Jana Heuer, Ralf Stannarius, Gergely Tátrai, Ágnes Buka

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Abstract

The effect of the electric-field inhomogeneity has been experimentally studied by polarizing microscopy in a homeotropic nematic liquid crystal in confined electrode geometries which may be relevant in display applications. Defects related to tilt inversion have been detected by monitoring the transmitted intensity profile as a function of the applied voltage. The position of the defects could be controlled by an additional magnetic field breaking the symmetry of the original arrangement. The phenomenon has been interpreted via numerical calculation of the director distribution using the continuum theory of nematics. The influence of oblique light incidence and of weak anchoring has also been analyzed. Simulations have provided good qualitative agreement with the observations. The method has turned out to be a sensitive tool to detect small misalignment angles between the magnetic field and the cell plane.

Original languageEnglish
Article number051702
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Volume81
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 5 2010

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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