Indexed on: 18 Mar '16Published on: 18 Mar '16Published in: Physical review. E
This paper concerns the instability behavior of a nematic liquid crystal in the region of dielectric inversion frequency for different waveforms of the exciting electric field. The critical frequency separating the regimes of dielectric and electroconvective primary bifurcation states shows a notable dependence on the waveform. In particular, it is found to undergo a large downshift for square-wave and sawtooth-wave fields as compared to sine-wave and triangle-wave fields. This seems to underscore the significance of harmonics in nonsinusoidal fields for the evolution of patterned electroconvective states. The study also deals with the flow pattern associated with the periodic state and the sequence of secondary instabilities occurring at higher fields to emphasize the role of the Carr-Helfrich mechanism for the instabilities in this region. The relevance of dielectric heating to the formation of transient structures is also pointed out.