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Design of effective bulk potentials for nematic liquid crystals via colloidal homogenisation

    We consider a Landau–de Gennes model for a suspension of small colloidal inclusions in a nematic host. We impose suitable anchoring conditions at the boundary of the inclusions, and we work in the dilute regime — i.e. the size of the inclusions is much smaller than the typical separation distance between them, so that the total volume occupied by the inclusions is small. By studying the homogenised limit, and proving rigorous convergence results for local minimisers, we compute the effective free energy for the doped material. In particular, we show that not only the phase transition temperature, but also any coefficient of the quartic Landau–de Gennes bulk potential can be tuned, by suitably choosing the surface anchoring energy density.

    Communicated by G. Allaire

    AMSC: 35J50, 35B27, 76M50, 76A15


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