Wednesday, April 24, 2013

1304.6129 (Candy Anquetil-Deck et al.)

Towards independent control of polar and azimuthal anchoring    [PDF]

Candy Anquetil-Deck, Douglas J. Cleaver, Jonathan P. Bramble, Timothy J. Atherton
Monte Carlo simulation, experiment and continuum theory are used to examine the anchoring exhibited by a nematic liquid crystal at a patterned substrate comprising a periodic array of rectangles that, respectively, promote vertical and planar alignment. It is shown that the easy axis and effective anchoring energy promoted by such surfaces can be readily controlled by adjusting the design of the pattern. The calculations reveal rich behavior: for strong anchoring, as exhibited by the simulated system, for rectangle ratios $\geq 2$ the nematic aligns in the direction of the long edge of the rectangles, the azimuthal anchoring coefficient changing with pattern shape. In weak anchoring scenarios, however, including our experimental systems, preferential anchoring is degenerate between the two rectangle diagonals. Bistability between diagonally-aligned and edge-aligned arrangement is predicted for intermediate combinations of anchoring coefficient and system length-scale.
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