Capillary Smectization and Layering in a Confined Liquid Crystal

D. de las Heras, E. Velasco, and L. Mederos
Phys. Rev. Lett., 94, 017801, (2005)     DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.94.017801
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Using density-functional theory, we have analyzed the phase behavior of a model liquid crystal confined between two parallel, planar surfaces (i.e., the so-called slit pore). As a result of confinement, a rich phase behavior arises. The complete liquid-crystal phase diagram of the confined fluid is mapped out as a function of wall separation and chemical potential. Strong commensuration effects in the film with respect to wall separation lead to enhanced smectic ordering, which gives capillary smectization (i.e., formation of a smectic phase in the pore), or frustrated smectic ordering, which suppresses capillary smectization. These effects also produce layering transitions. Our nonlocal density-functional-based analysis provides a unified picture of all the above phenomena.

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