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Soft Matter and Biological Physics
Eur. Phys. J. E 3, 355-368

The commensurate and incommensurate TGBC*liquid crystal phases

Yves Galerne

Institut de Physique et Chimie des Matériaux de Strasbourg, Groupe des Matériaux Organiques, 23 rue du L\oess, F-67037 Strasbourg, France
Yves.Galerne@ipcms.u-strasbg.fr

Received 30 November 1999 and Received in final form 5 May 2000

Abstract
We propose complements to the Renn model of the liquid crystal TGBC* phase. We argue that the rotation angle per helislab is spontaneously in the radian range, not too small to limit the energy cost of the twist grain boundaries between the helislabs, not too large to preserve the double twisting efficiency. Taking the elastic interactions between the helislabs into account, we show that the structure may undergo two different lock-ins, provided that the uncontrolled interactions at the sample surfaces are small enough. First, for appropriate values of the elastic constants, an angular lock-in may fix the rotation angle per helislab at values exactly commensurate to $\pi$. Three characteristic lengths of the TGBC* phase, the TGB period and the thicknesses of both the smectic blocks and of the helislabs are then commensurate to one another, with moreover, integer ratios at the most efficient commensurabilities. The TGBC* phase could thus exist in several versions, incommensurate and commensurate, according to the steps of a restricted Devil's staircase. A second elastic lock-in should then arise in the commensurate TGBC*phases, to set the arrays of disclination lines between the helislabs in simple rectangular lattices, arranged in a helical manner. Being placed right behind one another, the disclination lines then coincide when observed along the TGB axis. This could explain the typical textures with square or hexagonal grids, observed in oriented samples. The commensurability of the TGBC*phases could be analyzed with X-ray scattering experiments in the same manner as already reported for the TGBC phase.

PACS
61.30.Cz Theory and models of liquid crystal structure - 61.30.Jf Defects in liquid crystals - 64.70.Rh Commensurate-incommensurate transitions

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