PHY-850: Special Topics in CM: Intro to liquid crystal physics

Molecules” of anisometric shapes often form fluidic but orientationally ordered phases, called liquid crystals. Various entities, from small organic molecules to millimeter-size grains, from lifeless colloids to swimming microorganisms, can form liquid crystal phases. In the first part of the course, we will discuss equilibrium liquid crystal systems. We will begin with a survey of the variety of phases in the liquid crystal family. Then we will look into the Maier-Saupe and Onsager theories that describe the condensation of nematic from an isotropic phase. We will investigate the elasticity and viscosity of nematics with both symmetry and material arguments. We will conclude this part with discussions on defects. In the second half, we will look into active liquid crystals, i.e. systems driven out-of-equilibrium at “molecule” level. We will look into the dynamic features of these new systems that result from the competition of orientational order and active stress. This course will be mainly lectures, but compensated by paper discussion, lab tours, and basic experiments.

Consent of Instructor
Semester(s) offered: 

Course Schedules

Semester Sec Instructor Times / Rm
Fall 2007
Jennifer Ross
MWF 11:15
LGRT 1033
Fall 2005
Anthony Dinsmore
Advanced topics: Soft Condensed Matter Physics
TuTh 4:00-5:15
HASA 113
Spring 2005
Soft Condensed Matter
MWF 11:15-12:05
LGRT 1033
Fall 2004 Anthony Dinsmore
Advanced topics: Soft Condensed Matter Physics
TuTh 11:15-12:30
Has 111
Spring 2004 Mark Tuominen
MWF 10:10
Has 136
Fall 2003 David Kastor
String Theory
TuTh 9:30
LGRT 1114
Spring 2003
MWF 10:10
Has 136
Fall 2002 Anthony Dinsmore
Soft Condensed Matter
TuTh 9:30 - 10:45
Hasa 104B
Fall 2000 Nikolay Prokof'ev
MWF 1:25