Hydrodynamics of polar liquid crystals

William Kung, M. Cristina Marchetti, Karl Saunders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Starting from a microscopic definition of an alignment vector proportional to the polarization, we discuss the hydrodynamics of polar liquid crystals with local C v symmetry. The free energy for polar liquid crystals differs from that of nematic liquid crystals (Dh) in that it contains terms violating the n→-n symmetry. First we show that these Z2 -odd terms induce a general splay instability of a uniform polarized state in a range of parameters. Next we use the general Poisson-bracket formalism to derive the hydrodynamic equations of the system in the polarized state. The structure of the linear hydrodynamic modes confirms the existence of the splay instability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number031708
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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