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.
It is shown experimentally that crossing and intercommutation of disclinations in a bounded nematic cell depend on surface orientation of the director and the relative strength of disclinations. Lines of opposite strength switch the pinned ends between the bounding plates and vanish independently of each other if the surface orientation is tangential. In contrast, tilted surface orientation preserves the stability of lines.