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We have studied the electric field-induced first order transition from a homeotropic smectic A structure to a polydomain texture that occurs through the nucleation of toric focal-conic domains (TFCDs). The process involves two steps: first, nucleation of TFCDs of a size larger than a critical radius a*, and then a steady growth of TFCDs to a secondary critical radius a**, when surface anchoring effects become dominant and cause a transition from a circular TFCD to an elongated stripe domaindoi:10.1080/02678290310001621886 fatcat:kcao5b3oxnevvezmiq4gpbvafa