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Temperature Dependence of the Electroclinic Effect in the Twist-Bend Nematic Phase

Meyer, Claire; Davidson, Patrick; Luckhurst, Geoffrey R.; Dokli, Irena; Knežević, Anamarija; Lesac, Andreja; Paterson, Daniel A.; Walker, Rebecca; Storey, John M. D.; Imrie, Corrie T.; Dozov, Ivan. (2023) Temperature Dependence of the Electroclinic Effect in the Twist-Bend Nematic Phase. Crystals, 13 (3). ISSN 2073-4352

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The twist-bend nematic (NTB) phase of bent-shaped molecules has recently attracted much attention due to the spontaneous bend of its director field and the doubly-degenerate chirality of its heliconical structure. Despite intensive experimental and theoretical investigation worldwide, the main structural characteristics (pitch and conical angle) and elastic properties of the phase are still barely understood. This is mainly due to the difficulty in growing large single domains of the NTB phase, which prevents the application of the powerful electro-optical techniques developed for the nematic (N) phase. Moreover, the twist and bend distortions of the optic axis are forbidden by the pseudo-layered structure of the NTB phase, which makes its response to the field smectic-like instead of nematic-like. Therefore, the only macroscopic electric effect that can be observed deep in the NTB phase is the smectic-like “electroclinic” effect (ECENTB). Here, we achieve large monochiral NTB domains which remain uniform over a wide temperature range (20–60 ◦C) in thin (1.5 µm) planar cells, thus avoiding the so-called stripe- and rope-like textural instabilities. This allowed us to experimentally determine, using electro-optical measurements, the temperature dependence of the ECENTB response in four different NTB materials: namely the dimers CB7CB, CB9CB, CB6OCB, and BNA76. For all compounds, the thermal dependences of conical angle and pitch in the vicinity of the N-NTB transition follow the theoretically predicted power law behaviour. However, the agreement between the measured and predicted power law exponents remains only qualitative, which calls for improvement of the theoretical models

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: liquid crystal ; twist-bend nematic ; electro-clinic effect
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Chemistry
Divisions: Division of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry
Project titleProject leaderProject codeProject type
Strukturna kiralnost vs molekulska kiralnostLesac, AndrejaIP-2019-04-7978HRZZ
Depositing User: Irena Dokli
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2023 07:53
DOI: 10.3390/cryst13030465

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