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The surface tension of the isotropic-nematic interface, γ, is measured in simulation by integrating stress profiles. Typical results are shown below: the work is challenging because the measured quantities are so small; nonetheless, we have obtained excellent agreement with theory. We confirmed that γ is smaller when the director lies in the plane of the interface (as in the snapshot opposite) than when it is normal to the interface; unexpectedly, we found that the profiles are dramatically different in the two cases. In further work we have measured the capillary wave fluctuations of this interface.

M P Allen J Chem Phys, 112, 5447 (2000)
M S Al-Barwani, M P Allen Phys Rev E, 62, 6706 (2000)
A J McDonald, M P Allen, F Schmid Phys Rev E, 63, 010701 (2000)
N Akino, F Schmid, M P Allen Phys Rev E, 63, 041706 (2001)

Interface between isotropic (top) and nematic (bottom) phases for ellipsoids of elongation 15.