Introduction to the Molecular Theory of Nematic Liquid Crystals
In this chapter we consider the very simplest approach to the molecular theory of liquid crystals. We shall approach the theory phenomenologically, treating the problem of the existence of the nematic phase as an order-disorder phenomenon. Using the observed symmetry of the nematic phase we shall identify an order parameter and then attempt to find an expression for the orientational potential energy of a molecule in the nematic liquid in terms of this order parameter. Such an expression is easily found in the mean field approximation. Once this is accomplished, expressions for the orientational molecular distribution function are derived and the thermodynamic functions simply calculated. The character of the transformation from nematic liquid crystal to isotropic fluid is then revealed by the theory, and the nature of the fluctuations near the transition temperature can be explored.
KeywordsNematic Liquid Crystal Nematic Phase Molecular Theory Isotropic Liquid Orientational Distribution Function
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