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Exotic defect structures in a strongly confined chiral liquid crystal

Monday 24th June 2013 - 12:00 to 12:45
Center for Mathematical Sciences
We present our numerical results on the structures of a chiral nematic liquid crystal when it is confined in a thin planar cell with strong anchoring on its surfaces. We are interested in the cases where the liquid crystal exhibit a cholesteric blue phase under no confinement, and the cell thickness is of the order of or smaller than the cholesteric pitch. We show various stable exotic defect structures depending on temperature, cell thickness, and the type of anchoring. They include a hexagonal lattice of Skyrmion excitations, and a regular array of ring defects. These exotic defect structures can be regarded as a result of frustrations between bulk blue phase ordering and surface anchoring that does not allow it.
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University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons