Theory and simulation of the confined Lebwohl-Lasher model Articles uri icon

publication date

  • April 2011

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 17

issue

  • 4 (041701)

volume

  • 83

international standard serial number (ISSN)

  • 1539-3755

electronic international standard serial number (EISSN)

  • 1550-2376

abstract

  • We discuss the Lebwohl-Lasher model of nematic liquid crystals in a confined geometry, using Monte Carlo simulation and mean-field theory. A film of material is sandwiched between two planar, parallel plates that couple to the adjacent spins via a surface strength epsilons. We consider the cases where the favored alignments at the two walls are the same (symmetric cell) or different (asymmetric cell). In the latter case, we demonstrate the existence of a single phase transition in the slab for all values of the cell thickness. This transition has been observed before in the regime of narrow cells, where the two structures involved correspond to different arrangements of the nematic director. By studying wider cells, we show that the transition is in fact the usual isotropic-to-nematic (capillary) transition under confinement in the case of antagonistic surface forces. We show results for a wide range of values of film thickness and discuss the phenomenology using a mean-field model.