The effect of the shape of the mesogenic group on the structure and phase behavior of 2,3,4-tris(dodecyloxy)benzenesulfonates with alkaline cations
Synthesis and mesophase structure characterisation are reported for a group of alkali salts of 2,3,4-tris(dodecyloxy)benzenesulfonic acid. As revealed by a combination of polarizing optical microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry and X-ray scattering, variation of the effective mesogen shape due to changes of the cation size leads to systematic transformation of the materials' phase behaviour. Thermotropic mesophases of different types and dimensionalities were observed: 1D (smectic bilayers), 2D (ordered and disordered columnar phases), and 3D (high-temperature micellar mesomorphic phase, low-temperature crystalline one). Cubic packing prevails when the cation size is small and, thus, the effective mesogen shape is close to the conic one. With increasing ion size, the mesogen shape becomes more tapered, and columnar mesophases appear to be more stable.