Dendritic growth in a two-dimensional smectic E freely suspended film†
We have investigated the dendritic growth of a freely suspended film of a rod-type molecule forming the smectic E phase from the smectic A phase upon cooling from an isotropic temperature. In contrast to the fractal growing patterns of other smectic liquid phases, this exhibits a clear dendritic growth along with the direction of the molecular unit cell of the smectic E phase. During freezing from the outermost monolayers of the freely suspended film, the sequential dendritic growth occurs based on the confining effect of the preformed outer layers of the smectic E phase. An analysis of the growth law of the characteristic length, i.e., L(t) ∼ tn, shows that the growth process is consistent with the theoretically predicted (n = ∼0.66) value.