A Theoretician's Approach to Nematic Liquid Crystals and their Applications

Apala Majumdar, Alexander H. Lewis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter is a self-contained but not exhaustive account of continuum modelling approaches for nematic liquid crystals. Nematic liquid crystals are partially ordered liquids or anisotropic liquids with long-range orientational order. This chapter contains an overview of the celebrated Landau-de Gennes, Ericksen and Oseen-Frank theories for nematic liquid crystals, with emphasis on the mathematical modelling of static equilibrium phenomena. The chapter has a section devoted to a case study of a multistable nematic device. The case study focuses on two different modelling approaches to this device—the simple Oseen-Frank framework and the more elaborate Landau-de Gennes approach. The case study describes the corresponding mathematical frameworks, the methodology and the model predictions with comparisons to numerical simulations and experimental results. In particular, the case study elucidates how multistability in nematic devices can be controlled and manipulated by temperature, material properties and boundary effects. The Conclusions section summarizes the chapter content with future perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVariational Methods in Molecular Modeling
EditorsJianzhong Wu
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)9789811025006
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2016


  • liquid crystal
  • nematic liquid crystal
  • cholesteric liquid crystal
  • molecular alignment
  • elastic energy density


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