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Smectic C to smectic A transition induced mechanically by the rupture of freely suspended liquid crystal films

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Abstract

The tilt angle of smectic C phases can be controlled by external forces of very different nature. In particular near a smectic A–smectic C transition, it is susceptible to temperature changes. It can be influenced with electric fields (electroclinic effect), and even mechanically by intra-layer stresses in elastomers. We show that capillary forces that act during the rupture of a free-standing smectic C film can trigger a smectic C to smectic A transition, which rapidly reduces the surface area of the films, concurrently increasing the film thickness. The effect occurs on the sub-millisecond scale, practically independent of film thickness and temperature. We propose that this mechanical effect could even trigger a ferroelectric to paraelectric transition in chiral phases.

Graphical abstract: Smectic C to smectic A transition induced mechanically by the rupture of freely suspended liquid crystal films

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Publication details

The article was received on 30 Jan 2017, accepted on 01 Apr 2017 and first published on 03 Apr 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM00219J
Citation: Soft Matter, 2017, Advance Article
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    Smectic C to smectic A transition induced mechanically by the rupture of freely suspended liquid crystal films

    T. Trittel, K. Harth and R. Stannarius, Soft Matter, 2017, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7SM00219J

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