Abstract

We show that a generalized Landau theory for the smectic-A-smectic-C (Sm- A -Sm- C ) phases exhibits a biaxiality induced Sm- A -Sm- C tricritical point. Proximity to this tricritical point depends on the degree of orientational order in the system; for sufficiently large orientational order the Sm-A-Sm-C transition is three-dimensional XY -like, while for sufficiently small orientational order, it is either tricritical or first order. We investigate each of the three types of Sm-A-Sm-C transitions near tricriticality and show that for each type of transition, small orientational order implies de Vries behavior in the layer spacing, an unusually small layer contraction. This result is consistent with, and can be understood in terms of, the "diffuse cone" model of de Vries. Additionally, we show that birefringence grows upon entry to the Sm-C phase. For a continuous transition, this growth is more rapid the closer the transition is to tricriticality. Our model also predicts the possibility of a nonmontonic temperature dependence of birefringence.

Disciplines

Physics

Publisher statement

This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Physical Society. The following article appeared in Physical Review E.

Included in

Physics Commons

Share

COinS
 

URL: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/phy_fac/83