Research Initiation Awards: Molecular Thermodynamics and Transport Properties of Model Liquid-Crystalline Mixtures
David Kofke Principal Investigator
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This project will investigate the phase and dynamic behavior of nematic liquid crystal mixtures using both statistical theory and computer simulation. Specific objectives include development and verification of a novel Monte Carlo method for evaluating the isotropic-nematic transition in binary mesogenic systems, use of simulation to examine and quantify effects of solute characteristics on the existence and location of the transition, use of simulation to distinguish between two different theoretical approaches to modeling nematic mixtures, and use of simulation to examine transport properties in nematics as a function of structure and existence of the isotropic-nematic transition. Liquid crystals have widespread technological relevance, from computer and watch displays to high definition television, biomimetics, and fundamental understanding of cell membrane properties. This project will bring tools from recent advances in statistical thermodynamics and advanced computer simulation technology to bear upon the fundamental understanding of liquid crystals behavior.