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Q-tensor model of twist-bend and splay nematic phases

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DNMW03 - Optimal design of soft matter - including a celebration of Women in Materials Science (WMS)

The twist-bend nematic phase is characterized by a conically twisting director and by a dramatic softening of the bend elastic constant. The instability towards bend can theoretically also induce a splay bend phase with a bend-splay modulation along the director. Recently we found another modulated nematic phase  where the splay elastic constant tends to zero, resulting in a splay modulation perpendicular to the director. These phases can be modeled by a single Q-tensor free energy with a  term that breaks the degeneracy between the splay and bend elastic constant and with a flexoelectric coupling of the divergence of the Q-tensor with polarization. 

Martin Čopič and Alenka Mertelj 
Insitute J. Stephan, Ljubljana, Slovenia

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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