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Published February 22, 1993 | Published
Journal Article Open

Chiral symmetry breaking in Langmuir monolayers and smectic films


Langmuir monolayers and freely suspended smectic films can exhibit a spontaneous breaking of chiral symmetry. The order parameter that characterizes this symmetry breaking is coupled to variations in the direction of molecular tilt. As a result, chiral symmetry breaking leads to the spontaneous formation of complex equilibrium patterns with either 1D or 2D modifications in the direction of molecular tilt. A Landau theory for this pattern formation gives a general phase diagram, which includes a uniform nonchiral phase, a striped pattern, a square lattice, and a uniform chiral phase.

Additional Information

©1993 The American Physical Society. Received 24 November 1992. We thank J. Maclennan, D.R. Nelson, J.M. Schnur, and M. Seul for many helpful discussions. This research was supported by the Donors of The Petrolum Research Fund, administered by the American Chemical Society, and by the Caltech Consortium in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (founding members: E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company, Inc., Eastman Kodak Company, and Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company).

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