7,668 research outputs found

    Phase transitions of nematic rubbers

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    Single crystal nematic elastomers undergo a transition from a strongly ordered phase N to an "isotropic" phase I. We show that: (a) samples produced under tension by the Finkelmann procedure are intrinsically anisotropic and should show a small (temperature dependent) birefringence in the high temperature I phase. (b) for the I->Ntransition via cooling there is a spinodal limit but for the N->I transition via heating there is no soft mode at the standard spinodal temperature. (c) the N->I transition is reminiscent of a martensitic transformation: nucleation of the I phase should occur in the form of platelets, making a well defined angle with the director.Comment: 7 pages, 3 figures (To appear in Europhys. Lett.

    Dewetting dynamics of stressed viscoelastic thin polymer films

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    Ultrathin polymer films that are produced e.g. by spin-coating are believed to be stressed since polymers are 'frozen in' into out-of-equilibrium configurations during this process. In the framework of a viscoelastic thin film model, we study the effects of lateral residual stresses on the dewetting dynamics of the film. The temporal evolution of the height profiles and the velocity profiles inside the film as well as the dissipation mechanisms are investigated in detail. Both the shape of the profiles and the importance of frictional dissipation vs. viscous dissipation inside the film are found to change in the course of dewetting. The interplay of the non-stationary profiles, the relaxing initial stress and changes in the dominance of the two dissipation mechanisms caused by nonlinear friction with the substrate is responsible for the rich behavior of the system. In particular, our analysis sheds new light on the occurrence of the unexpected maximum in the rim width obtained recently in experiments on PS-PDMS systems.Comment: 11 pages, 10 figure

    Pacman percolation: a model for enzyme gel degradation

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    We study a model for the gel degradation by an enzyme, where the gel is schematized as a cubic lattice, and the enzyme as a random walker, that cuts the bonds over which it passes. The model undergoes a (reverse) percolation transition, which for low density of enzymes falls in a universality class different from random percolation. In particular we have measured a gel fraction critical exponent beta=1.0+-0.1, in excellent agreement with experiments made on the real system.Comment: 4 pages, 7 eps figure

    Nucleation of the crystalline phase of proteins in the presence of semidilute non-adsorbing polymer

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    Starting from a protein solution which is metastable with respect to the crystalline phase, the effect of adding semidilute non-adsorbing polymer is considered. It is found to increase the chemical potential of the protein by a few tenths of kT, which may be enough to lower the barrier to nucleation of the crystalline phase by enough to allow crystallisation. It is also shown that assuming that the polymer induces a pairwise additive attraction leads to qualitatively incorrect results.Comment: 5 pages, 1 figur

    Scaling theory for the free-energy barrier to homogeneous nucleation of a non-critical phase near a critical point

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    Homogeneous nucleation of a new phase near an Ising-like critical point of another phase transition is studied. A scaling analysis shows that the free energy barrier to nucleation contains a singular term with the same scaling as the order parameter associated with the critical point. The total magnetisation of the nucleus scales as the response function and so it diverges. Vapour-liquid critical points are in the Ising universality class and so our results imply that near such a critical point the number of molecules in a nucleus of a another phase, such as a crystalline phase, diverges as the isothermal compressibility. The case where symmetry prevents coupling between the nucleus and the order parameter is also considered.Comment: 7 pages including 2 figures (revision adds consideration of nuclei which do not couple to the order parameter and some dynamic scaling

    Thermodynamic approach to the dewetting instability in ultrathin films

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    The fluid dynamics of the classical dewetting instability in ultrathin films is a non-linear process. However, the physical manifestation of the instability in terms of characteristic length and time scales can be described by a linearized form of the initial conditions of the films's dynamics. Alternately, the thermodynamic approach based on equating the rate of free energy decrease to the viscous dissipation [de Gennes, C. R. Acad. Paris.v298, 1984] can give similar information. Here we have evaluated dewetting in the presence of thermocapillary forces arising from a film-thickness (h) dependent temperature. Such a situation can be found during pulsed laser melting of ultrathin metal films where nanoscale effects lead to a local h-dependent temperature. The thermodynamic approach provides an analytical description of this thermocapillary dewetting. The results of this approach agree with those from linear theory and experimental observations provided the minimum value of viscous dissipation is equated to the rate of free energy decrease. The flow boundary condition that produces this minimum viscous dissipation is when the film-substrate tangential stress is zero. The physical implication of this finding is that the spontaneous dewetting instability follows the path of minimum rate of energy loss.Comment: 8 pages, 3 figures. Under revie

    Pseudo-Casimir force in confined nematic polymers

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    We investigate the pseudo-Casimir force in a slab of material composed of nematically ordered long polymers. We write the total mesoscopic energy together with the constraint connecting the local density and director fluctuations and evaluate the corresponding fluctuation free energy by standard methods. It leads to a pseudo-Casimir force of a different type than in the case of standard, short molecule nematic. We investigate its separation dependence and its magnitude and explicitly derive the relevant limiting cases.Comment: 7 pages, 2 figure

    Ginzburg-Landau theory of dirty two band s±s_{\pm} superconductors

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    In this paper we study the effect of non-magnetic impurities on two-band s±s_{\pm} superconductors by deriving the corresponding Ginzburg-Landau (GL) equation. Depending on the strength of (impurity-induced) inter-band scattering we find that there are two distinctive regions where the superconductors behave very differently. In the strong impurity induced inter-band scattering regime Tc<<τt−1T_c<<\tau^{-1}_t, where τt∼\tau_t\sim mean-life time an electron stays in one band the two-band superconductor behaves as an effective one-band dirty superconductor. In the other limit Tc≥τt−1T_c\geq\tau^{-1}_t, the dirty two-band superconductor is described by a network of frustrated two-band superconductor grains connected by Josepshon tunnelling junctions. We argue that most pnictide superconductors are in the later regime.Comment: 4 pages, 1 figur

    Bulk and surface biaxiality in nematic liquid crystals

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    Nematic liquid crystals possess three different phases: isotropic, uniaxial, and biaxial. The ground state of most nematics is either isotropic or uniaxial, depending on the external temperature. Nevertheless, biaxial domains have been frequently identified, especially close to defects or external surfaces. In this paper we show that any spatially-varying director pattern may be a source of biaxiality. We prove that biaxiality arises naturally whenever the symmetric tensor \Sb=(\grad \nn)(\grad \nn)^T possesses two distinct nonzero eigenvalues. The eigenvalue difference may be used as a measure of the expected biaxiality. Furthermore, the corresponding eigenvectors indicate the directions in which the order tensor \QQ is induced to break the uniaxial symmetry about the director \nn. We apply our general considerations to some examples. In particular we show that, when we enforce homeotropic anchoring on a curved surface, the order tensor become biaxial along the principal directions of the surface. The effect is triggered by the difference in surface principal curvatures

    Long-range Casimir interactions between impurities in nematic liquid crystals and the collapse of polymer chains in such solvents

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    The elastic interactions between objects embedded in a nematic liquid crystal are usually caused by the average distorsion-rather than by the fluctuations-of the nematic orientational field. We argue that for sufficiently small particles, the nematic-mediated interaction originates purely from the fluctuations of the nematic director. This Casimir interaction decays as d^(-6), d being the distance between the particles, and it dominates van der Waals interactions close to the isotropic-to-nematic transition. Considering the nematic as a polymer solvent, we show that the onset of this Casimir interaction at the isotropic-to-nematic transition can discontinuously induce the collapse of a flexible polymer chain from the swollen state to the globular state, without crossing the Theta-point.Comment: 6 pages, 1 figur
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