5. Main types of Liquid Crystals
The simplest mesophase is a nematic LC. In nematics, the long molecular axes are preferably oriented in one direction, defined as the director n, (Fig.9), and molecular dipoles are compensated, so in equilibrium this mesophase is electrically neutral. Both directions of director, +n and -n, are equivalent. The ordinary nematic structure shows an optically positive uniaxial behaviour with the optical axis parallel to the director n.
Nematic LCs possess a relatively low viscosity;
they can be deformed by even small external forces.
Considering only weak distortions, the nematic phase formally
acts as an elastic medium, and the deformations can be treated by the
continuum theory of nematics.
This equation is the basis for the theoretical treatment of defects and textures of nematic LCs. For a stable distortions, the solution of the above equation have to yield a relative minima in the free energy. Distortions that do not correspond to minima of Fd are unstable and should therefore not occur in stable textures.