Cholesteric liquid crystals exhibit great morphological richness of static metastable states. Understanding the transitions between such states is key for the development of switchable devices. We show, using a quasi-one-dimensional model, that cholesterics exhibit distinct uniaxial and biaxial pathways between distinct minima. We study transitions between different layer numbers and prove, and show, that transition states are distinguished either through splay-mediated untwisting, understood through contact topology, or the presence of biaxiality. Furthermore we characterize a menagerie of additional saddle points that dictate the connectivity of the solution landscape.
- cholesteric liquid crystals
- static metastable states