## Abstract

n this thesis, we investigate several aspects of the behaviour of liquid crystal molecules near interfaces using computer simulation. We briefly discuss experiment, theoretical and computer simulation studies of some of the liquid crystal interfaces. We then describe three essentially independent research topics. The first of these concerns extensive simulations of a liquid crystal formed by long flexible molecules. We examined the bulk behaviour of the model and its structure. Studies of a film of smectic liquid crystal surrounded by vapour were also carried out. Extensive simulations were also done for a long-molecule/short-molecule mixture, studies were then carried out to investigate the liquid-vapour interface of the mixture.

Next, we report the results of large scale simulations of soft-spherocylinders of two different lengths. We examined the bulk coexistence of the nematic and isotropic phases of the model. Once the bulk coexistence behaviour was known, properties of the nematic-isotropic interface were investigated. This was done by fitting order parameter and density profiles to appropriate mathematical functions and calculating the biaxial order parameter. We briefly discuss the ordering at the interfaces and make attempts to calculate the surface tension. Finally, in our third project, we study the effects of different surface topographies on creating bistable nematic liquid crystal devices. This was carried out using a model based on the discretisation of the free energy on a lattice. We use simulation to find the lowest energy states and investigate if they are degenerate in energy.

Next, we report the results of large scale simulations of soft-spherocylinders of two different lengths. We examined the bulk coexistence of the nematic and isotropic phases of the model. Once the bulk coexistence behaviour was known, properties of the nematic-isotropic interface were investigated. This was done by fitting order parameter and density profiles to appropriate mathematical functions and calculating the biaxial order parameter. We briefly discuss the ordering at the interfaces and make attempts to calculate the surface tension. Finally, in our third project, we study the effects of different surface topographies on creating bistable nematic liquid crystal devices. This was carried out using a model based on the discretisation of the free energy on a lattice. We use simulation to find the lowest energy states and investigate if they are degenerate in energy.

Original language | English (US) |
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Publisher | University of Bristol |

Number of pages | 142 |

State | Published - 1999 |

Externally published | Yes |