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The Physics of Lyotropic Liquid CrystalsPhase Transitions and Structural Properties$
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Antônio M. Figueiredo Neto and Silvio R. A. Salinas

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198525509

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198525509.001.0001

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The Nematic And Cholesteric Phases

The Nematic And Cholesteric Phases

(p.190) 6 The Nematic And Cholesteric Phases
The Physics of Lyotropic Liquid Crystals

Antônio M. Figueiredo Neto

Silvio R. A. Salinas

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers different nematic and cholesteric phases from the experimental and theoretical points of view. Besides the usual uniaxial nematic phases, lyotropic mixtures with more than two components may also display biaxial nematic mesophases. This particular mesophase has three different refraction indices depending on the orientation of the electric field of the light rays with respect to the symmetry axes of the structure. The classical example of the potassium laurate/decanol/water mixture is given as an introductory example of a lyotropic system displaying three nematic phases (two uniaxial phases, calamitic and discotic, and a biaxial phase). X-ray diffraction, linear and nonlinear optical experiments are discussed to support the characterization of these structures. A phenomenological Landau model is presented to describe the nematic phase diagram. Cholesteric phases are discussed both experimentally and theoretically.

Keywords:   nematic phases, uniaxial nematic phases, biaxial nematic phases, cholesteric phases, phase diagram, Landau model

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