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Recent posts

Simulation and theory of hybrid aligned liquid crystal films

January 4th, 2011 by fred

We present a study of the effects of nanoconfinement on a system of hard Gaussian overlap particles interacting with planar substrates through the hard-needle-wall potential, extending earlier work by two of us [D. J. Cleaver and P. I. C. Teixeira, Chem. Phys. Lett. 338, 1 (2001)]. Here, we consider the case of hybrid films, where one of the substrates induces strongly homeotropic anchoring, while the other favors either weakly homeotropic or planar anchoring. These systems are investigated using both Monte Carlo simulation and density-functional theory, the latter implemented at the level of Onsager’s second-virial approximation with Parsons-Lee rescaling. The orientational structure is found to change either continuously or discontinuously depending on substrate separation, in agreement with earlier predictions by others. The theory is seen to perform well in spite of its simplicity, predicting the positional and orientational structure seen in simulations even for small particle elongations.

Entropy-driven formation of the gyroid cubic phase

January 4th, 2011 by fred

We show, by computer simulation, that tapered or pear-shaped particles, interacting through purely repulsive interactions, can freely self-assemble to form the three-dimensionally periodic, gyroid cubic phase. The Ia3d gyroid cubic phase is formed by these particles both on compression of an isotropic configuration and on expansion of a smectic A bilayer arrangement. For the latter case, it is possible identify the steps by which the topological transformation from non-intersecting planes to fully interpenetrating, periodic networks takes place.

Molecular dynamics of shock-wave induced structural changes in silica glasses

January 4th, 2011 by fred

We seek to model the shock wave induced structural changes in silicate glass at the atomic scale. We use both direct shock propagation with non-equilibrium molecular dynamics (NEMD) and bulk simulations in the Hugoniot ensemble to characterize the structure and topology of the shocked glass. Despite the lack of long-range interactions in our model, the close agreement between our structures and those obtained by experimental and simulation studies alike, underlines the importance of the role played by first neighbor interactions on the structure of silicate glass. The results obtained from this study show that, in agreement with experimental work, the structure and topology of the shock-induced densified phase is unique in its structure as can be revealed by medium-range order measurements. The modifications include a reduction of the average tetrahedra size and an increase in the proportion of 3-4 and 8-10 membered Si-rings. Application of a Hugoniostat method based on constraint dynamics shows near-perfect agreement with the NEMD results. Besides validating the former method, this opens the prospect of studying shock-induced effects at a fraction of the cost required to run large scale shock simulations while using much more complicated potentials and setups.

Computer simulation of bistable switching in a nematic device containing pear-shaped particles.

January 4th, 2011 by fred

We study the microscopic basis of bistable switching of a confined liquid crystal via Monte Carlo simulations of hard pear-shaped particles. Using both dielectric and dipolar field couplings to this intrinsically flexoelectric fluid, it is shown that pulsed fields of opposing polarity can be used to switch between the vertical and hybrid aligned states. Further, it is shown that the field susceptibility of the surface polarisation, rather than the bulk flexoelectricity, is the main driver of this switching behaviour.

Using particle shape to induce tilted and bistable liquid crystal anchoring

January 4th, 2011 by fred

F. Barmes1 and D.J. Cleaver2 Physical Review E, 71, 021705 (2005) 1Centre Européen de Calcul Atomique et Moléculaire, 46, Allée d’Italie, 69007 Lyon, France 2Materials and Engineering Research Institute, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, S1 1WB, United Kingdom Abstract We use Monte Carlo simulations of hard Gaussian overlap (HGO) particles symmetrically confined in slab geometry to [...]