Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals, Vol.541, 370-379, 2011
Steric Effects in Polar Nematic Liquid Crystals
Recent measurements in a nematic liquid crystal formed by polyester compounds have given evidence of spontaneous macroscopic polar ordering. A mean-field theory for liquid crystals is built combining short-range, repulsive, steric forces with the average electric dipolar energy exchanged between molecules sharing the same excluded region. Such model is capable of identifying both uniaxial and biaxial polar phases. Under the assumption of a spheroidal shape for the molecules, and through a numerical bifurcation analysis, we assess the stability of phases upon two interaction parameters: the degree of intrinsic biaxiality, and the relative orientation of the permanent electric dipoles.