Parity breaking in nematic tactoids

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We theoretically investigate under what conditions the director field in a spindle-shaped nematic droplet or tactoid obtains a twisted, parity-broken structure. By minimizing the sum of the bulk elastic and surface energies, we show that a twisted director field is stable if the twist and bend elastic constants are small enough compared to the splay elastic constant, but only if the droplet volume is larger than some minimum value. We furthermore show that the transition from an untwisted to a twisted director-field structure is a sharp function of the various control parameters. We predict that suspensions of rigid, rod-like particles cannot support droplets with a parity broken structure, whereas they could possibly occur in those of semi-flexible, worm-like particles
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8835-8850
JournalJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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