Gauge theory and nematic order : the rich landscape of orientational phase transition

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Gauge theory and nematic order : the rich landscape of orientational phase transition

Type: Doctoral Thesis
Title: Gauge theory and nematic order : the rich landscape of orientational phase transition
Author: Liu, K.
Journal Title: Casimir PhD Series
Issue Date: 2016-09-06
Keywords: Gauge theory
Symmetry breaking
Phase transition
Nematic Order
Liquid Crystals
Abstract: As crystals are classified by space groups, nematic liquid crystals should be in principle classified by point groups. Conventionally, the study of nematic liquid crystals has mainly been focused on a very small subset of the whole nematic family, partly because of limitations of traditional methods. In this thesis, we introduce a non-Abelian gauge theory that can treat nematic phases with arbitrary point group symmetries in a unified framework in an efficient way. The proposed gauge theory allows us to compare nematic phases against a common reference. We are therefore able to quantify the orientational fluctuations of nematic orders with different symmetries and identify a novel chiral liquid phase. Moreover, this gauge theory can act as an order-parameter generator, and we thus achieve a full classification of nematic-order-parameter tensors, which has never been done before. Finally, we show that the gauge theory provides a convenient way to access the anisotropy of axial orders, by which we generalize the extensively studied biaxial-uniaxial transition of D2h nematics to a much broader class.
Promotor: Supervisor: J. Zaanen
Faculty: Science
University: Leiden
Uri: urn:isbn:9789085932635
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/42793
 

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