Due to elastic anisotropy, two-dimensional patterning of substrates can promote weak azimuthal alignment of adjacent nematic liquid crystals. Here we consider how such alignment can be achieved using a periodic square lattice of circular or elliptical motifs. In particular, we examine ways in which the lattice and motif can combine to favor differing orientations. Using Monte Carlo simulation and ... read morecontinuum elasticity we find, for circular motifs, that the coverage fraction controls both the polar anchoring angle and a transition in the azimuthal orientation. If the circles are generalized to ellipses, arbitrary control of the effective easy axis and effective anchoring potential becomes achievable by appropriate tuning of the ellipse motif relative to the periodic lattice patterning. This has possible applications in both monostable and bistable liquid crystal device contexts.read less
A. Debenedictis, T. J. Atherton, C. Anquetil-Deck, D. J. Cleaver, D. B. Emerson, M. Wolak and J. H. Adler, Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics 92 (4) (2015). https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.92.042501.