Lattice Monte Carlo study of orientational order in a confined system of biaxial particles: Effect of an external electric field

João Paulo Casquilho, João Luis Figueirinhas

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In this work we have used lattice Monte Carlo to determine the orientational order of a system of biaxial particles confined between two walls inducing perfect order and subjected to an electric field perpendicular to the walls. The particles are set to interact with their nearest neighbors through a biaxial version of the Lebwohl-Lasher potential. A particular set of values for the molecular reduced polarizabilities defining the potential used was considered; the Metropolis sampling algorithm was used in the Monte Carlo simulations. The relevant order parameters were determined in the middle plane of the sample and for some cases across the whole thickness of the sample. We have determined the temperature-electric field phase diagram for this system and found, as expected, five different system configurations corresponding to three different mesophases. At low temperatures and low fields the system finds itself in an undistorted biaxial phase. On increasing the field at low temperatures, a Freedericksz transition takes place and the secondary directors reorient towards the field while the primary director stays undistorted and parallel to the walls. On increasing the field further, a second Freedericksz transition occurs and the primary director orients also towards the field direction. The orientational order measured at the field strengths tested is not affected by the field. On increasing the temperature, a transition to a uniaxial phase occurs and within the range of this phase a field increase leads also to a Freedericksz transition where the main director reorients towards the field. At higher temperature a transition to a disordered phase is found. We have performed finite size scaling analysis for the Freedericksz critical fields and found that they scale with the distance L between the walls as L-1 as expected from continuum theory. From these fields we have also determined the temperature dependence of two elastic constant ratios. Critical exponents and critical temperatures for the order parameter and the correlation length for the biaxial-uniaxial phase transition and the uniaxial to disordered phase transition were also determined by finite size scaling and are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number032701
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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