Qualitative chirality effects on the Casimir-Lifshitz torque with liquid crystals

Wijnand Broer, Bing Sui Lu, Rudolf Podgornik

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8 Citations (Scopus)


We model a cholesteric liquid crystal as a planar birefringent multilayer system, where the orientation of each layer differs slightly from that of the adjacent one. This allows us to analytically simplify the otherwise acutely complicated calculation of the Casimir-Lifshitz torque. Numerical results differ appreciably from the case of nematic liquid crystals, which can be treated like bloc birefringent media. In particular, we find that the torque deviates considerably from its usual sinusoidal behavior as a function of the misalignment angle. In the case of a birefringent crystal faced with a cholesteric liquid one, the Casimir-Lifshitz torque decreases more slowly as a function of distance than in the nematic case. In the case of two cholesteric liquid crystals, either in the homochiral or in the heterochiral configuration, the angular dependence changes qualitatively as a function of distance. In all considered cases, finite pitch length effects are most pronounced at distances of about 10 nm.

Original languageEnglish
Article number033238
JournalPhysical Review Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes


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