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Since the coe$cients C and A have same symmetry, C"A"0 gives a TCP. In that case a positive stabilizing sixth-order term with positive coe$cient has to be included in the free-energy expansion [64,86,87]. In such a situation, one way of studying the weakly "rst-order NI transition occurring near a TCP would be to have a B with a small non-zero value. 14). Q )/Q did not improve. ,' ,' ,' ,' In another approach [86], by assuming B to be so small that it can be discarded and taking small negative value of C and sixth-order stabilizing term, the "rst-order nature of the NI transition and the neighbourhood of the TCP both can be achieved.

In the former case a stabilizing sixth-order term with coe$cient E'0 in Eq. 1) is required. So far only spatially uniform systems have been considered above. Eqs. 8) can be generalized to include spatial variations of the order parameters by replacing Q by Q(r) and including the contribution of the interaction term [ Q(r), ¹] in a power series in Q(r) and retaining only the leading term [ Q(r)] h (¹)[ Q(r)] . 9) In order for the spatially uniform state to be the state of lowest free energy, h (¹)'0 and near the critical temperature, h (¹) must be approximated as a temperature-independent constant.

Critical value the system undergoes a second-order transition with no symmetry breaking. Above the critical value of B the transition is of "rst-order. This is in contradiction with the prediction of Landau's theory. The results hold also for d'4, since it depends only on the fact that A "0. Thus, if at ¹ the behaviour is critical, assuming that in the scaling law [76] the non-analyticity ,' 144 S. Singh / Physics Reports 324 (2000) 107}269 appears at the critical point (#uid-like critical point) and also on the spinodal curve, the critical indices of the absolute stability limit of the nematic phase (metastable) are " and " "1!