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Liquid Crystal Phase Behaviour of Attractive Disc-Like Particles
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(9), 17584-17607; doi:10.3390/ijms140917584

Nanoconfinement-Induced Structures in Chiral Liquid Crystals

1,* , 1
1 Stranski-Laboratorium für Physikalische und Theoretische Chemie, Technische Universität Berlin, Straße des 17. Juni 135, Berlin 10623, Germany 2 Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, North Carolina State University, 911 Partners Way, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 July 2013 / Revised: 8 August 2013 / Accepted: 16 August 2013 / Published: 28 August 2013


We employ Monte Carlo simulations in a specialized isothermal-isobaric and in the grand canonical ensemble to study structure formation in chiral liquid crystals as a function of molecular chirality. Our model potential consists of a simple Lennard-Jones potential, where the attractive contribution has been modified to represent the orientation dependence of the interaction between a pair of chiral liquid-crystal molecules. The liquid crystal is confined between a pair of planar and atomically smooth substrates onto which molecules are anchored in a hybrid fashion. Hybrid anchoring allows for the formation of helical structures in the direction perpendicular to the substrate plane without exposing the helix to spurious strains. At low chirality, we observe a cholesteric phase, which is transformed into a blue phase at higher chirality. More specifically, by studying the unit cell and the spatial arrangement of disclination lines, this blue phase can be established as blue phase II. If the distance between the confining substrates and molecular chirality are chosen properly, we see a third structure, which may be thought of as a hybrid, exhibiting mixed features of a cholesteric and a blue phase.
Keywords: liquid crystal; chirality; cholesteric and blue phases; confinement; Monte Carlo simulation liquid crystal; chirality; cholesteric and blue phases; confinement; Monte Carlo simulation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Melle, M.; Theile, M.; Hall, C.K.; Schoen, M. Nanoconfinement-Induced Structures in Chiral Liquid Crystals. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 17584-17607.

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