We propose a novel approach to the solution of nematic Liquid Crystal models based on the derivation of a system of nonlinear wave equations for order parameters such that the occurrence of uniaxial and biaxial phase transitions can be interpreted as the propagation of a two-dimensional shock wave in the space of thermodynamic parameters. We obtain the exact equations of state for an integrable model of biaxial nematic liquid crystals and show that the classical transition from isotropic to uniaxial phase in absence of external fields is the result of a van der Waals type phase transition, where the jump in the order parameters is a classical shock generated from a gradient catastrophe at a non-zero isotropic field. The study of the equations of state provides the first analytical description of the rich structure of nematics phase diagrams in presence of external fields.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Annals of Physics|
|Early online date||21 Jul 2018|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Sep 2018|