Order and Fluctuations in Smectic Liquid Crystals

  • J. D. Litster
  • R. J. Birgeneau
  • M. Kaplan
  • C. R. Safinya
  • J. Als-Nielsen
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSB, volume 50)


Liquid crystals are among the most interesting condensed states of matter; they are interesting in their own right and we also expect that insights into their properties will help to understand other condensed phases that exist in nature. In all condensed phases there are thermally excited fluctuations. Depending on the spatial dimensionality along with the symmetry and range of interparticle interactions, these fluctuations can play a role of varying significance in determining properties of matter. In some materials the fluctuations play an unimportant role and the statistical mechanical calculations to understand which phases occur and their properties can be carried out simply by a mean field approximation. In other materials the fluctuations profoundly alter the material properties in the vicinity of phase transitions, and only recently have we learned how to make approximate calculations with sufficient accuracy to explain the thermodynamic behavior of these materials. This is the class of phase changes known as critical phenomena. Finally, in certain cases, the fluctuations are so important as to prevent the establishment of phases which interactions between the molecules would otherwise favor.


Liquid Crystal Tilt Angle Short Range Order Range Order Nematic Phase 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. D. Litster
    • 1
  • R. J. Birgeneau
    • 1
  • M. Kaplan
    • 1
  • C. R. Safinya
    • 1
  • J. Als-Nielsen
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of Physics and Center for Materials Science and EngineeringMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Risø National LaboratoryRoskildeDenmark

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