Ferroelectric-like switching in the nematic phase of four-ring bent-core liquid crystals†
The recent discovery of a ferroelectric response to a switching electric field in nematic phases exhibited by bent-core polar molecules, particularly 1,2,4-oxdiazole derivatives, could lead to new avenues for the development of electro-optic devices. For the first time, we report ferroelectric-like switching under the influence of a triangular wave electric field in the nematic phase exhibited by unsymmetrical achiral four-ring bent-core compounds. These bent-core molecules, exhibiting a large nematic phase range (>70 °C), consist of two unequal lengths in two wings and possess a polar moiety at one end and an alkyloxy chain at the other end. An anomalous variation in spontaneous polarization as a function of temperature in the nematic phase is distinctly observed, which is similar to the results reported only in the low temperature region of the nematic phase. Electro-optical, current-response and dielectric studies of aligned samples corroborate earlier reports of the proposed polar structure of the cybotactic clusters and the ferroelectric-like polar switching of these nematic phases.