A Theoretician’s Approach to Nematic Liquid Crystals and Their Applications

  • Apala MajumdarEmail author
  • Alexander H. Lewis
Part of the Molecular Modeling and Simulation book series (MMAS)


This chapter is a self-contained but not exhaustive account of continuum modelling approaches for nematic liquid crystals. Nematic liquid crystals are partially ordered liquids or anisotropic liquids with long-range orientational order. This chapter contains an overview of the celebrated Landau-de Gennes, Ericksen and Oseen-Frank theories for nematic liquid crystals, with emphasis on the mathematical modelling of static equilibrium phenomena. The chapter has a section devoted to a case study of a multistable nematic device. The case study focuses on two different modelling approaches to this device—the simple Oseen-Frank framework and the more elaborate Landau-de Gennes approach. The case study describes the corresponding mathematical frameworks, the methodology and the model predictions with comparisons to numerical simulations and experimental results. In particular, the case study elucidates how multistability in nematic devices can be controlled and manipulated by temperature, material properties and boundary effects. The Conclusions section summarizes the chapter content with future perspectives.


Liquid Crystal Nematic Liquid Crystal Cholesteric Liquid Crystal Molecular Alignment Elastic Energy Density 
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.



A.M. is supported by an EPSRC Career Acceleration Fellowship EP/J001686/1 and EP/J001686/2, an OCIAM Visiting Fellowship, support from the Bath Internationalization Grant schemes and the Bath Institute for Mathematical Innovation. A. L. is supported by an Engineering Physical Sciences Research Council studentship. The authors are grateful to Peter Howell, Dirk Aarts and Samo Kralj for fruitful discussions and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematical SciencesUniversity of BathClaverton Down, BathUK
  2. 2.Mathematical Institute, University of OxfordOxfordUK

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