The surface molecular alignment in a sandwich cell showing V-shaped switchi
ng has been investigated using a photocontrolling method. The results indic
ate that the molecules on the rubbed surface are aligned parallel to the ru
bbing direction as in an open cell with an air-liquid crystal boundary. Thi
s alignment is due to strong in-plane anchoring, due to which the small twi
sted state appears along the cell thickness through intralayer molecular in
teraction. (C) 2001 American Institute of Physics.