Thick smectic shells

O. V. Manyuhina, M. J. Bowick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The known ground state of ultrathin smectic films confined to the surface of a sphere is described by four +1/2 defects assembled on a great circle and a director which follows geodesic lines. Using a simple perturbative approach we show that for thick smectic films on a sphere with planar anchoring this solution breaks down, distorting the smectic layers. The instability happens when the bend elastic constant exceeds the anchoring strength times the radius of the inner sphere. Above this threshold, the formation of a periodic chevron-like structure, observed experimentally as well, relieves geometric frustration. We quantify the effect of thickness and curvature of smectic shells and provide insight into the wavelength of the observed texture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-91
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Non-Linear Mechanics
StatePublished - Jun 11 2015


  • Geometric frustration
  • Periodic structure
  • Smectic liquid crystals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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