Lyotropic Lamellar Lα Phases

  • Didier Roux
  • Cyrus R. Safinya
  • Frederic Nallet
Part of the Partially Ordered Systems book series (PARTIAL.ORDERED)


As previous chapters have described, surfactants in solution lead to a large number of fascinating structures, among which are the lyotropic liquid crystal phases [1]. Liquid crystals exhibit long range order: orientational (nematics, see Chap. 3) and positional (lamellar, hexagonal or cubic—see Secs. 1.4.3–4 and Chap. 4). The lamellar phases consist of stacks of surfactant bilayers separated by solvent, usually water. In this chapter we are concerned only with the lamellar L α phase. Figure 6.1 shows a schematic representation of such a structure. There is quasi-long-range positional solid-like order along the direction perpendicular to the layers (which we label as the z-direction): the surfactant density is modulated along the z-direction with a well-defined period, the repeat distance d. In the two other, in-plane, directions (x and y) the system is liquid-like and the solvent and surfactant molecules are free to move in this plane. In general, at lower temperatures the L α phase may undergo a phase transition to the lamellar L β1 ,phases where the surfactant molecules exhibit various degrees of in-plane positional and orientational order [2]. The lamellar L α phase has the symmetry of the smectic A phase encountered in thermotropic liquid crystals [3]; there are nevertheless important reasons for specifically studying such lyotropic smectics. First, their most striking property is that the repeat distance d can be varied continuously, upon addition of an appropriate solvent.


Lamellar Phase Concentration Fluctuation Baroclinic Mode Oriented Sample Repeat Distance 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Didier Roux
    • 1
  • Cyrus R. Safinya
    • 2
  • Frederic Nallet
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre de recherche Paul-Pascal, CNRSPessacFrance
  2. 2.Materials and Physics DepartmentsUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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