Casimir interaction in smectic-A liquid crystals caused by coupled fluctuations of positional and orientational order.

Research paper by B B Markun, S S Zumer

Indexed on: 12 Apr '06Published on: 12 Apr '06Published in: Physical review. E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics


A theoretical study of the Casimir interaction in smectic-A systems, considering fluctuations of both types of smectic ordering--positional and orientational--including the coupling between them, is presented. Two model systems with plan-parallel geometry are studied: homeotropic cell and free-standing film. At large thicknesses of the system the behavior of the Casimir force is found to be primarily determined by positional fluctuations, whereas at small thicknesses also the orientational degrees of freedom greatly contribute to the interaction. The influence of different coupling strengths between orientational and positional order is presented. The dependence of the Casimir force on the director anchoring and surface-tension parameters is studied. The possibilities of experimental detection of the interaction are discussed.