Liquid Crystal Modelling and Simulation: A Comprehensive Introduction

July 14, 2017 to July 18, 2017
Location : Ettore Majorana Centre, Erice (TP)


  • Antonio DiCarlo (CECAM-IT-SIMUL Node, Italy)
  • Claudio Zannoni (Universita' di Bologna, Dipartimento di Chimica Industriale "Toso Montanari", Italy)
  • Paolo Biscari (Politecnico di Milano, Italy)
  • Paolo Pasini (INFN - Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Italy)





Application update: some places are still available, and the deadline for applying has been deferred to July 9th.

For organisational reasons, this deadline is final. Late prospective participants should apply as soon as possible, and will be informed of the decision taken by the School organisers in the shortest delay. Apart from the above changes, all information as provided below is still valid.


Practical information for prospective applicants (also provided in the ‘PracticalInfo’ file under the ‘Files’ tag)

There is no tuition fee. However, students will need to cover their own travel expenses and to pay the comprehensive fee (100 euros/day) charged by the Ettore Majorana Centre for providing food, accommodation, local transportation from and to Palermo or Trapani airport or train station of arrival, and the use of its facilities. Since participants are expected to arrive on July 13 to stay until July 19, the overall fee amounts to 700 (seven hundred) euros.
Prospective participants are required to apply through this web site, and urged to do so at their earliest convenience and — in any event — not later than June 18. All applicants will be informed of the decision taken by the School organisers by June 25. Accepted participants will also receive detailed instructions for paying the fee and organising their arrival to and departure from Erice.
The School could possibly contribute to the local expenses of some applicants who were in need of support. Such requests should be motivated and will be evaluated according to the order of arrival.

School Programme

We intend to offer a comprehensive theoretical introduction to the basic physical and mathematical ideas underlying state-of-the-art computer simulations of liquid crystalline structures, while inviting students to practise them on manageable prototype problems. Studying the collective behaviour of liquid crystal phases and of their transformations on a hierarchy of scales, from atomistic to continuum, constitutes a fascinating and challenging arena for both the computational scientist, the theoretically-minded researcher and the technologist, each of them profiting from being exposed to the viewpoints and expertise of the others. For this reason we have formed a well-balanced team of lecturers and instructors, and aim at summoning an audience focussing on computer simulation of liquid crystals from different backgrounds.

The complexities of liquid crystal models presently developed and the fineness of the details of current technological interest – not only for displays, but for applications ranging from organic electronics to optics and nanostructured materials – make a computational approach to their study more relevant and appealing than ever before. Most importantly, the ongoing progress of liquid crystal science and technology demands and at the same time allows for a more profound exchange and a closer collaboration between communities that hitherto have developed their computational tools in relative isolation from one another and with different motivations in mind. This school aims to bring them closer and foster their cross-fertilisation.

❍ Bottom-up models of liquid crystals (C. Zannoni & R. Berardi)
– An introduction to bottom-up modelling and simulation of liquid crystals (LCs)
– Lattice and molecular models of LCs; order parameters and correlation functions
– Predictive atomistic modelling of LCs

❍ Approximate statistical mechanics methods (T. Sluckin, P. Biscari & S. Turzi)
– Molecular field theories of nematics and smectics
– Extended mean field theories; Landau-de Gennes theory
– Dynamical phenomena

❍ Hydrodynamical models (P. Biscari, A. DiCarlo & L. Teresi)
– Nematic LCs and nematic elastomers
– Free energy and dissipation via relaxation
– Finite element implementation

❍ Complex topological defects in constrained LCs (S. ŽŽumer & S. Čopar)
– Topological defects in nematics and cholesterics
– Stable nematic fields with defects
– Metastable textures with distinctive topological traits

❍ Modelling LC devices (P. Palffy-Muhoray, A. d’Alessandro & X. Zheng)
– Nematic LC elastomer motors
– Cholesteric LCs as self-assembled photonic band-gap materials
– Nanosecond switching of nematic LCs
– Photonic devices, organic field-effect transistor (OFET), photovoltaics

For more information, see the 'DetailedInfo' file under the 'Files' tag.



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