Monte Carlo and theoretical studies of thin 3D films of biaxial and uniaxial nematics with tangential boundary conditions show distinct differences in structure and evolution of topological defects. In the uniaxial films, defects of strength k=+/-1 are point defects that bear no bulk singularity and disappear by annihilation with each other. In the biaxial films, k=+/-1 defects are true singular bulk disclinations that split into pairs of k=+/-1/2 lines; the latter disappear by annihilation processes of the type +1/2-1/2=0. These observed differences are of relevance for the current debate on the existence of biaxial phases.
Monte Carlo (MC) simulations based exclusively on nearest-neighbor intermolecular interactions reveal the existence of stable long-range deformations and topological defects in a thin nematic film confined between two surfaces with antagonistic (normal and tangential) molecular orientations. Thus the MC technique allows one to describe a delicate balance of bulk elasticity and surface energy usually treated only with macroscopic theories.