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Soft Matter and Biological Physics

Eur. Phys. J. E 4, 85-91

Structure and elastic properties of a nematic liquid crystal: A theoretical treatment and molecular dynamics simulation

A.V. Zakharov and A. Maliniak.

Division of Physical Chemistry, Arrhenius Laboratory, Stockholm University, S-10691 Stockholm, Sweden


(Received 22 March 2000 and Received in final form 9 June 2000)

The Frank elasticity constants which describe splay (K1), twist (K2), and bend (K3) distortion modes are investigated for 4-n-pentyl-4'-cyanobiphenyl (5CB) in the nematic liquid crystal. The calculations rest on statistical-mechanical approaches where the absolute values of Ki (i=1,2,3) are dependent on the direct correlation function (DCF) of the corresponding nematic state. The DCF was determined using the pair correlation function by solving the Ornstein-Zernike equation. The pair correlation function, in turn, was obtained from molecular dynamics (MD) trajectory. Three different approaches for calculations of the elasticity constants were employed based on different level of approximation about the orientational order and molecular correlations. The best agreement with experimental values of elasticity constants was obtained in a model where the full orientational distribution function was used. In addition we have investigated the approximation about spherical distribution of the intermolecular vectors in the nematic phase, often used in derivation of various mean-field theories and employed here for the construction of the DCF. We found that this assumption is not strictly valid, in particular a strong deviation from the isotropic distribution is observed for short intermolecular distances.

61.30.-v - Liquid crystals.
61.30.Cz - Theory and models of liquid crystal structure.

© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2001