Two isometric series of chloro-terminated 5-alkoxy-2-(4-alkoxyphenyl)pyrimidine mesogens QL8-m/n and QL9-m/n (m + n = 16), with the chloro-terminated alkoxy chain tethered to either the pyrimidine ring or the phenyl ring, were synthesized and their liquid crystalline properties characterized by polarized optical microscopy and differential scanning calorimetry. Based on the analysis of mesogenic properties and correlations to electrostatic potential isosurfaces calculated at the B3LYP/6-31G* level, we present evidence suggesting that the SmA-promoting effect of chloro end-groups is not due to strong polar interactions at the layer interfaces, as previously postulated in the literature. Instead, the evidence suggests that the SmA-promoting effect is due to the electron-withdrawing effect of the chloro end-group, which should reduce electrostatic repulsion between alkoxy chains and, consequently, increase van der Waals interactions between aromatic cores in the orthogonal SmA phase.
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