A state of matter in which molecules show a long-range orientational order and no positional order is called a nematic liquid crystal. The best known and most widely used (for example, in modern displays) is the uniaxial nematic, with the rod-like molecules aligned along a single axis, called the director. When the molecules are chiral, the director twists in space, drawing a right-angle helicoid and remaining perpendicular to the helix axis; the structure is called a chiral nematic. Here using transmission electron and optical microscopy, we experimentally demonstrate a new nematic order, formed by achiral molecules, in which the director follows an oblique helicoid, maintaining a constant oblique angle with the helix axis and experiencing twist and bend. The oblique helicoids have a nanoscale pitch. The new twist-bend nematic represents a structural link between the uniaxial nematic (no tilt) and a chiral nematic (helicoids with right-angle tilt).
Some hydrocarbon linked mesogenic dimers are known to exhibit an additional nematic phase (N x ) below a conventional uniaxial nematic (N u ) phase. Although composed of non-chiral molecules, the N x phase is found to exhibit linear (polar) switching under applied electric field. This switching has remarkably low response time of the order of a few microseconds. Two chiral domains with opposite handedness and consequently opposite responses are found in planar cells. Uniformly lying helix, electroclinic, and flexoelectric effects are given as possible causes for this intriguing phenomenon. A change in the direction of the optical axis by a moderate electric field is the basis of the use of liquid crystals (LCs) in contemporary display technologies. However, further exploitation of this property in optical telecommunication technologies is hindered by the limited speed of the optical axis switching. Amongst the fastest electro-optic effects in LCs are surface stabilized ferroelectric smectic LCs, 1 uniformly lying helix (ULH) geometry in flexoelectric cholesteric LCs, 2 electro-optic effect in blue phases, 3 and the electroclinic effect 4 found in both chiral smectic and cholesteric LCs. These switching modes are defined by the asymmetry of the chiral molecules forming the corresponding LC phases.Meanwhile, non-chiral dimers of mesogenic molecules linked with a flexible hydrocarbon chain with odd number of alkyl units have recently attracted attention due to the presence of an unusual liquid crystalline phase (currently designated as N x ) in the temperature range below the classical nematic phase (N u ).  Although identified as a nematic phase by x-ray diffraction studies, the phase exhibits clearly different patterns in polarised optical microscopy (POM) observations as well as a difference in the enthalpy from N u measured by the differential scanning calorimetry. 5 The ability of this class of materials to spontaneously form unusual stripe patterns with periodicity defined by the gap between containing surfaces is promising for applications in photonics. A theoretical explanation connecting the molecular properties to the macroscopic self-assembly properties is still to be developed.In this Letter, we report one more intriguing property of the N x phase: it exhibits polar switching with remarkably low switching time under electric field in a similar manner as the above mentioned materials involving chirality.The molecular structures of materials under investigation are shown in Fig. 1. We have investigated both pure dimers (M1-3) and mixtures of M4 with 4-4 0 pentyl-cyano-biphenyl (5CB) (70/30% w/w) and of M2 with its monomer (65/35% w/w). A number of cells with cell gaps varying from 2 to 25 lm and with different alignment layers have been used. These include anti-parallel planar commercial cells (EHC. Co., KSRP-XX-A2 jj P1NSS), homemade planar cells (planar aligning agent RN1175, Nissan Chemicals, Japan), and homemade hybrid aligned cells (homeotropic aligning agent AL60702 JSR, Korea). The experim...
Infrared absorbance measurements have been carried out on two liquid crystalline organo-siloxane tetrapodes. Results unambiguously show the existence of a biaxial nematic phase below a uniaxial nematic phase. The three components of IR absorbance are used to calculate the various order parameters. On cooling, a weak first-order transition from isotropic to nematic is observed, followed by a second-order phase transition to biaxial nematic where the biaxiality parameters are found to be significantly large. Results are supported by observations from conoscopy and texture. Temperature dependences of the order parameters are well explained by the mean-field model for a biaxial phase.
To gain insight into a recent observation that the prominent, Debye-type relaxation process observed for a primary alcohol may not be the ␣-relaxation process associated with molecular diffusion of a liquid ͓Europhys. Lett. 40, 549 ͑1997͒, J. Chem. Phys. 107, 1086 ͑1997͔͒, the dielectric spectra of an uncrystallizable secondary alcohol, 5-methyl-2-hexanol, has been investigated by broadband spectroscopy. Measurements made over a temperature range from 110 to 298 K showed that three relaxation processes occur. Processes I and II have a non-Arrhenius variation of the relaxation rate with temperature, and process III an Arrhenius. Only process I, the slowest of the three, has a single relaxation rate, the other two, a broad distribution. The contribution to permittivity from process II was 0.8, i.e., ϳ3% of the static permittivity, and from process III, the fastest was 0.1, i.e., ϳ0.3%. It is argued that the mechanism of process I is the breaking followed by dipolar reorientation and reforming of the H-bonds in the intermolecularly H-bonded structure, and process II is that of the orientation of the other dipolar groups, such as the -OR group. Process III is the usual JohariGoldstein process. For 5-methyl-2-hexanol, the mode-coupling and another theory by Souletie and Bertrand ͓J. Phys. I 1, 1627 ͑1991͔͒ seem to agree with the relaxation rate of processes I and II, and predict temperatures for 10 Ϫ4 Hz relaxation rate, within a few degrees of that expected.
The extent of H bonding in alcohols may be reduced by sterically hindering its OH group. This technique is used here for investigating the reasons for the prominent Debye-type dielectric relaxation observed in monohydroxy alcohols ͓Kudlik et al., Europhys. Lett. 40, 549 ͑1997͒; Hansen et al., J. Chem. Phys. 107, 1086 ͑1997͒; Kalinovskaya and Vij, ibid. 112, 3262 ͑2000͔͒, and broadband dielectric spectroscopy of supercooled liquid and glassy states of 1-phenyl-1-propanol is performed over the 165-238 K range. In its molecule, the steric hindrance from the phenyl group and the existence of optical isomers reduce the extent of intermolecular H bonding. The equilibrium permittivity data show that H-bonded chains do not form in the supercooled liquid, and the total polarization decays by three discrete relaxation processes, of which only the slower two could be resolved. The first is described by the Cole-Davidson-type distribution of relaxation times and a Vogel-Fulcher-Tammann-type temperature dependence of its average rate, which are characteristics of the ␣-relaxation process as in molecular liquids. The second is described by a Havriliak-Negami-type equation, and an Arrhenius temperature dependence, which are the characteristics of the Johari-Goldstein process of localized molecular motions. The relaxation rate's non-Arrhenius temperature dependence has been examined qualitatively in terms of the Dyre theory, which considers that the apparent Arrhenius energy itself is temperature dependent, as in the classical interpretations, and quantitatively in terms of the cooperatively rearranging region's size, without implying that there is an underlying thermodynamic transition in its equilibrium liquid. The relaxation rate also fits the power law with the critical exponent of 13.4, instead of 2-4, required by the mode-coupling theory, thereby indicating the ambiguity of the power-law equations.
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