Simulation studies of liquid crystals ordering
This theoretical studentship would be based in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and would be concerned with simulating the properties of liquid crystals that are studied experimentally in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the group of Professor Ungar and Dr Zeng. The first project to be studied would be to study a liquid crystal where the molecules order in square arrays but there are two side chains attached to the middle of each liquid crystal molecule so each square contains 4 of these side chains. The two side chains repel so there is a transition to an ordered phase in which the side chains have segregated. The work would use Monte Carlo simulations to study the critical behaviour occurring at this transition to compare it to the 2-dimensional Ising model. Later work would involve a study the time scale of the ordering dynamics for liquid crystals and also to study novel ordering of rhombuses with 120 and 60 degree angles that order in hexagonal arrays and the superlattices and "stripe" phases that result.