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Issue 46, 2014
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Molecular geometry, twist-bend nematic phase and unconventional elasticity: a generalised Maier–Saupe theory

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Abstract

It has been found that bent-shaped achiral molecules can form a liquid crystal phase, called the Twist-Bend Nematic (NTB), which is locally polar and spontaneously twisted having a tilted director, with a conglomerate of degenerate chiral domains with opposite handedness and pitch of a few molecular lengths. Here, using a major extension of the Maier–Saupe molecular field theory, we can describe the transition from the nematic (N) to the NTB phase. We provide a consistent picture of the structural and elastic properties in the two phases, as a function of the molecular bend angle, and show that on approaching the transition there is a gradual softening of the bend mode in the N phase. This points to the crucial role of the molecular shape for the formation of modulated nematic phases and their behaviour.

Graphical abstract: Molecular geometry, twist-bend nematic phase and unconventional elasticity: a generalised Maier–Saupe theory

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Publication details

The article was received on 29 Sep 2014, accepted on 14 Oct 2014 and first published on 15 Oct 2014


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4SM02173H
Author version available: Download Author version (PDF)
Citation: Soft Matter, 2014,10, 9318-9323
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    Molecular geometry, twist-bend nematic phase and unconventional elasticity: a generalised Maier–Saupe theory

    C. Greco, G. R. Luckhurst and A. Ferrarini, Soft Matter, 2014, 10, 9318
    DOI: 10.1039/C4SM02173H

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