Molecular simulation of chevrons in confined smectic liquid crystals

N. Mottram, R.E. Webster, D.J. Cleaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Chevron structures adopted by confined smectic liquid crystals are investigated via molecular dynamics simulations of the Gay-Berne model. The chevrons are formed by quenching nematic films confined between aligning planar substrates whose easy axes have opposing azimuthal components. When the substrates are perfectly smooth, the chevron formed migrates rapidly towards one of the confining walls to yield a tilted layer structure. However, when substrate roughness is included, by introducing a small-amplitude modulation to the particle-substrate interaction well depth, a symmetric chevron is formed which remains stable over sufficiently long run times for detailed structural information, such as the relevant order parameters and director orientation, to be determined. For both smooth and rough boundaries, the smectic order parameter remains nonzero across the entire chevron, implying that layer identity is maintained across the chevron tip. Also, when the surface-stabilized chevron does eventually revert to a tilted layer structure, it does so via surface slippage, such that layer integrity is maintained throughout the chevron to tilted layer relaxation process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)021706-1
Number of pages21705
JournalPhysical Review E: Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2003


  • smectics
  • molecular physics
  • liquid crystals
  • chevrons
  • Gay-Berne model


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