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VOLUME 55 | ISSUE 5 | PAGE 273
Cholesteric-nematic texture transition in liquid crystals
The cholesteric-nematic phase transition which occurs in a thin layer of a liquid crystal upon a change in the pitch of the helix or the thickness of the layer is analyzed. A geometric analog of the Ritz-Galerkin variational method is proposed for calculating the energy of various textures of a liquid crystal. Contours in order-parameter space which describe the configuration of one-dimensional textures of a liquid crystal are used as trial functions. Several metastable states exist (there is a multistability). There are also regions in which the various states of a cholesteric spiral remain nearly constant (at the accuracy level of the variational method used here). The physical meaning of this result is an additional degeneracy of the system.

Permission given by American Institute of Physics is appreciated.