Polar bent-shape liquid crystals – from molecular bend to layer splay and chirality
Considerable progress has been achieved in understanding the fascinating structure and physical properties of the ferroelectric liquid crystalline phases formed by bent-core liquid crystals (BLC). In this review, we discuss a manifold of polar structures and phases found in BLCs such as orthogonal and tilted ferro-/antiferroelectric phases, smectic phases, switchable columnar phases, modulated structures and phases stabilised by a periodic lattice of defects such as dark conglomerate and nanofilament phases. We review the theoretical aspects of ferroelectricity in BLCs including existing microscopic theories and computer simulations, polarity and chirality phenomena. The last part of the paper is devoted to the peculiarities of the behavior of BLCs in a restricted geometry (freely suspended films and filament) and the perspective technological applications.