Bistable defect structures in blue phase devices

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A. Tiribocchi1, G. Gonnella1, D. Marenduzzo2, E. Orlandini3 and F. Salvadore (Cineca)

1Dipartimento di Fisica and Sezione INFN di Bari, Università di Bari, Bari, Italy
2SUPA, School of Physics, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
3Dipartimento di Fisica and Sezione INFN di Padova, Università di Padova, Padova, Italy

Blue phases are liquid crystals made up by networks of defects, or disclination lines. While existing phase diagrams show a striking variety of competing metastable topologies for these networks, very little is known as to how to kinetically reach a target structure, or how to switch from one to the other, which is of paramount importance for devices. We theoretically identify two confined blue phase I systems in which by applying an appropriate series of electric field it is possible to select one of two bistable defect patterns. Our results may be used to realize new generation and fast switching energy-saving bistable devices in ultrathin surface treated blue phase I wafers.

Read article on Physical Review Letters: Phys. Rev. Lett., 107 , 237803 (2011).

61.30.Mp, 42.79.Kr, 61.30.Jf