Probing the dynamics of geometrically confined ferroelectric mesogens at the air interface
This article focuses on the alignment and dynamics of mesogens at the ferroelectric liquid crystal (FLC)/air interface in a confined geometry. The interface has been systematically prepared and characterised with provision for applying an electric field separately to the bulk and air interface of the FLC. Polarizing optical microscopy (POM) investigations done at the FLC/air interface have exposed the concave geometry, cell thickness dependent boundary width and phase dependent optical textures of the FLC meniscus at the interface. Dielectric spectroscopy investigations revealed the presence of an additional molecular relaxation mode at the FLC/air interface, which is attributed to the short axis rotation of homeotropically aligned mesogens at the interface. Based on the observations from the POM, dielectric spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction profiles, we schematically envisaged the molecular arrangement and dynamics of the FLC/air boundary. These studies would be helpful for innovations in liquid crystal based devices and also for many other applications, where soft surfaces, interfaces and confinement play a momentous role.