The effect of strong confinement on the positional and orientational ordering is examined in a system of hard rectangular rods with length L and diameter D (L>D) using the Parsons-Lee modification of the second virial density-functional theory. The rods are nonmesogenic (L/D<3) and confined between two parallel hard walls, where the width of the pore (H) is chosen in such a way that both planar (particle's long axis parallel to the walls) and homeotropic (particle's long axis perpendicular to the walls) orderings are possible and a maximum of two layers is allowed to form in the pore. In the extreme confinement limit of H≤2D, where only one-layer structures appear, we observe a structural transition from a planar to a homeotropic fluid layer with increasing density, which becomes sharper as L→H. In wider pores (2D<H<3D) planar order with two layers, homeotropic order, and even combined bilayer structures (one layer is homeotropic, while the other is planar) can be stabilized at high densities. Moreover, first-order phase transitions can be seen between different structures. One of them emerges between a monolayer and a bilayer with planar orders at relatively low packing fractions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics