We develop a phenomenological Landau–de Gennes (LdG) theory for lyotropic colloidal suspensions of bent rods using a Q-tensor expansion of the chemical-potential dependent grand potential. In addition, we introduce a bend flexoelectric term, coupling the polarization and the divergence of the Q-tensor, to study the stability of uniaxial (N), twist-bend (NTB), and splay-bend (NSB) nematic phases of colloidal bent rods. We first show that a mapping can be found between the LdG theory and the Oseen–Frank theory. By breaking the degeneracy between the splay and bend elastic constants, we find that the LdG theory predicts either an N–NTB–NSB or an N–NSB–NTB phase sequence upon increasing the particle concentration. Finally, we employ our theory to study the first-order N–NTB phase transition, for which we find that K33 as well as its renormalized version remain positive at the transition, whereas vanishes at the nematic spinodal. We connect these findings to recent simulation results.
A Landau–de Gennes theory for twist-bend and splay-bend nematic phases of colloidal suspensions of bent rods
Carmine Anzivino, René van Roij, Marjolein Dijkstra; A Landau–de Gennes theory for twist-bend and splay-bend nematic phases of colloidal suspensions of bent rods. J. Chem. Phys. 14 June 2020; 152 (22): 224502. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0008936
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