Spiral waves in nematic and cholesteric liquid crystals. (English) Zbl 0899.76054

Summary: Experimental results, which report the formation of spiral waves in a nematic liquid crystal subjected to a rotating magnetic field, are theoretically investigated. Starting from the first principle of elasticity theory, it is analytically shown that an Ising-Bloch transition of Brochard-Leger walls leads to the formation of moving solitons and spiral waves. A detailed quantitative non-linear analysis is being used throughout the paper. Furthermore, an application of the Ising-Bloch transition to the experimental determination of the chirality constant of a cholesteric liquid crystal is presented.


76A15 Liquid crystals
82D30 Statistical mechanics of random media, disordered materials (including liquid crystals and spin glasses)
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