Memory-free conic anchoring of liquid crystals on a solid substrate

Phys Rev Lett. 2000 Apr 24;84(17):3871-4. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.84.3871.


We show that the anchoring memory of liquid crystals on solid substrates can be completely removed by grafting highly mobile polymer chains. Using grafted polystyrene, we obtain uniform, stable, and reproducible memory-free and conically degenerated anchoring of the nematic 5CB. The symmetry of the conic anchoring enables two different zenithal anchoring breakings, towards homeotropic and planar states. Under external torques we observe both of them, with weak thresholds.