Highly birefringent side-chain LC polymethacrylate with a dinaphthyl-acetylene mesogenic unit†
We synthesised a highly birefringent liquid crystalline (LC) side-chain polymer based on polymethacrylate with a dinaphthyl-acetylene mesogenic unit in the side chain. Three polymer types with different carbon numbers in the terminal alkoxy chain (m = 1, 3 and 6) were prepared, and their optical properties as well as phase sequential behaviours were investigated. All polymers formed a nematic phase with a wide temperature range, and a smectic C phase was detected between the nematic and crystal phases when m was extended to 6. Notably, for homologous m = 1, we successfully obtained a nematic glassy-state LC film with high optical performance under ambient temperature conditions. The optical properties of this LC film were shown to be consistent with those of a highly birefringent, low molar mass LC material, with birefringence, extraordinary and ordinary refractive indices of 0.36, 1.82 and 1.46, respectively at 550 nm.