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Paper   IPM / P / 16266
School of Physics
  Title:   Surface alignment disorder and thermal Casimir forces in smectic-A liquid crystalline films
  Author(s): 
1.  F. Karimi Pour Haddadan
2.  A. Naji
3.  R. Podgornik
  Status:   Published
  Journal: J. Physics: Condens. Matter
  No.:  32
  Vol.:  32
  Year:  2020
  Supported by:  IPM
  Abstract:
Disorder components in surface anchoring orientation of a smectic-A liquid crystalline film (occurring, e.g., due to surface contamination sources) modify the thermal pseudo-Casimir interaction mediated between the bounding surfaces of the film. By considering a plane-parallel slab with bounding surfaces positioned normal to the layering field of the film, we study the anchoring disorder effects by assuming that the disorder source is present on one of the two substrates, producing a Gaussian-weighted distribution for the preferred molecular anchoring orientation (easy axis) on that substrate, with a finite mean and variance or, more generally, with a homogeneous in-plane, two-point correlation function. We show that the presence of disorder, either of quenched or annealed type, leads to a significant reduction in the magnitude of the net pseudo-Casimir force between the confining substrates of the film. This force can be attractive or repulsive depending on the boundary conditions. In the quenched case, the interaction force reduction is a direct consequence of an additive free energy term dependent on the variance of the disorder, while in the annealed case, the suppression of the interaction force can be understood based on a disorder-renormalized, effective anchoring strength. We predict a regime of behavior, exhibiting non-monotonic dependence for the interaction pressure as a function of separation. We also show that, by increasing the disorder variance, the interaction pressure changes sign and becomes a monotonically decreasing function of the separation between the substrates.

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