Topology and bistability in liquid crystal devices

Apala Majumdar, C. J. P. Newton, J. M. Robbins, M. Zyskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
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We study nematic liquid crystal configurations in a prototype bistable device—the post aligned bistable nematic (PABN) cell. Working within the Oseen-Frank continuum model, we describe the liquid crystal configuration by a unit-vector field n , in a model version of the PABN cell. First, we identify four distinct topologies in this geometry. We explicitly construct trial configurations with these topologies which are used as initial conditions for a numerical solver, based on the finite-element method. The morphologies and energetics of the corresponding numerical solutions qualitatively agree with experimental observations and suggest a topological mechanism for bistability in the PABN cell geometry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number051703
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2007


  • nematic liquid crystals
  • Oseen-Frank continuum model
  • post aligned bistable nematic (PABN) cell


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