Elastic energy of liquid crystals in convex polyhedra

A. Majumdar, J. M. Robbins, M. Zyskin

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Abstract

We consider nematic liquid crystals in a bounded, convex polyhedron described by a director field n(r) subject to tangent boundary conditions. We derive lower bounds for the one-constant elastic energy in terms of topological invariants. For a right rectangular prism and a large class of topologies, we derive upper bounds by introducing, test configurations constructed from local conformal solutions of the Euler-Lagrange equation. The ratio of the upper and lower bounds depends only on the aspect ratios of the prism. As the aspect ratios are varied, the minimum-energy conformal state undergoes a sharp transition from being smooth to having singularities on the edges.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberL573
JournalJournal of Physics A: Mathematical and General
Volume37
Issue number44
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2004

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