Conformation of 2-fold Anisotropic Molecules Confined on a Spherical Surface
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Anisotropic molecules confined on a spherical or other curved surface can display coupled positional and orientational orderings, which make possible applications in physics, chemistry, biology, and material science. Therefore, controlling the order of such system has attracted much attention recently. Several distinct conformations of rod-like or chain-like molecules confined on a spherical surface have been predicted, including states such as tennis-ball, rectangle, and cut-and-rotate splay. These conformations have four +1/2 defects and are suggested to dominate over the splay conformation that has two +1 defects. For the purpose of investigating the conformations of 2-fold anisotropic molecules confined on the spherical surface, the author of this thesis utilizes the Onsager model to study the system of rigid rods and conducts Monte Carlo simulations on the bead-bond model to research the system of semiflexible polymer chains. At low surface coverage density, no particular pattern of the molecules would form. However, coupled positional and orientational ordering begins to emerge beyond a transition density. On the basis of the numerical solutions of the Onsager model of rigid rods, the splay conformation is shown to be the only stable state. On the other hand, Monte Carlo simulations on a polymer system indicate that the ordered state always accompanies the tennis-ball symmetry. With comparison to the continuous isotropic-nematic transition of a fluid of hard rods embedded in a flat two-dimensional space, the disorder-order transition for both the system of rigid rods and the system of polymer chains confined on the spherical surface has first-order phase-transition characteristics.