Abstract

In the past, theoretical and experimental studies of ferroelectric chiral smectic C liquid crystals (SmC* LC’s) concentrated on very thin (approximately 2-μm) devices, which are difficult to build accurately. In this paper a formalism is presented for computing the director orientation in a cell containing SmC* LC. This formalism is applied to thicker, more easily constructed, LC cells and allows for interactions within and between the smectic layers that were not considered in previous studies. Results of the director-orientation calculations are presented and used in a formalism developed by Berreman [ J. Opt. Soc. Am. 63, 1374 ( 1973)] to compute the transmittance of a 7-μm-thick cell for different azimuthal orientations of the cell between crossed polarizers. It is shown that the theoretical and measured orientations that give minimum transmittance are in good agreement. Finally it is shown that the computed average director tilt angle is consistent with conoscopic measurements performed with a polarizing microscope.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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