### Landau-De Gennes Theory of Biaxial Nematics Reexamined

07/15/2008Recent experiments report that the long-looked-for thermotropic biaxial nematic phase has been finally detected in some thermotropic liquid crystalline systems. Inspired by these experimental observations, we concentrate on some elementary theoretical issues concerned with the classical sixth-order Landau-de Gennes free energy expansion in terms of the symmetric and traceless tensor order parameter Q(alpha beta). In particular, we fully explore the stability of the biaxial nematic phase giving analytical solutions for all distinct classes of the phase diagrams that theory allows. This includes diagrams with triple, critical, and tricritical points and with multiple (reentrant) biaxial and uniaxial phase transitions. A brief comparison with predictions of existing molecular theories is also given.