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Issue 2, 2020
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Chemically induced splay nematic phase with micron scale periodicity

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Abstract

Nematic liquid crystals lack positional order of their constituent molecules, which share an average orientational order only. Modulated nematic liquid crystal phases also lack positional order, but possess a periodic variation in this direction of average orientation. In the recently discovered splay nematic (NS) phase the average orientational order is augmented with a periodic splay deformation of orientation perpendicular to the director. In this communication we report the first example of a splay nematic phase which is chemically induced by mixing two materials, neither of which exhibit the NS phase. The splay-nematic phase is identified based on its optical textures, X-ray scattering patterns, and small enthalpy of the associated phase transition. We measure the splay periodicity optically, finding it to be ∼9 μm. This unexpected generation of the splay-nematic phase through binary mixtures offers a new route to materials which exhibit this phase which complements ongoing studies into structure–property relationships and could accelerate the development of technologies utilising this remarkable polar nematic variant.

Graphical abstract: Chemically induced splay nematic phase with micron scale periodicity

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
28 Oct 2019
Accepted
04 Dec 2019
First published
05 Dec 2019

Soft Matter, 2020,16, 324-329
Article type
Communication

Chemically induced splay nematic phase with micron scale periodicity

P. L. M. Connor and R. J. Mandle, Soft Matter, 2020, 16, 324
DOI: 10.1039/C9SM02143D

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