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Issue 23, 2016
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Density functional theory of nematic elasticity: softening from the polar order

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Abstract

Recent experiments have evidenced some unconventional features in the elasticity of nematics, which cannot be explained by standard microscopic theories. Here, in the framework of a second-virial density functional theory, we have developed a general approach, relaxing the usual assumption that the angular distribution of particles with respect to their local director is unaffected by the deformation. We show that, for particles with polar symmetry, a new contribution to the splay and bend deformation free energy arises, associated with the onset of polar order. Calculations for conical and bent-shaped particles reveal dramatic softening of the splay and the bend mode, respectively, which eventually may lead to spontaneous deformation.

Graphical abstract: Density functional theory of nematic elasticity: softening from the polar order

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Publication details

The article was received on 12 Mar 2016, accepted on 07 May 2016 and first published on 09 May 2016


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6SM00624H
Soft Matter, 2016,12, 5188-5198

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    Density functional theory of nematic elasticity: softening from the polar order

    P. De Gregorio, E. Frezza, C. Greco and A. Ferrarini, Soft Matter, 2016, 12, 5188
    DOI: 10.1039/C6SM00624H

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