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Ferroelectric Response and Induced Biaxiality in the Nematic Phase of Bent-Core Mesogens

DOI: 10.1002/adfm.200801865 DOI Help

Authors: Oriano Francescangeli (Dipartimento di Fisica e Ingegneria dei Materiali e del Territorio and CNISM Università Politecnica delle Marche Via Brecce Bianche) , Vesna Stanic (Dipartimento di Fisica e Ingegneria dei Materiali e del Territorio and CNISM Università Politecnica delle Marche Via Brecce Bianche) , Sofia Torgova (P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences) , Alfredo Strigazzi (Dipartimento di Fisica and CNISM, Politecnico di Torino) , Nicola Scaramuzza (Dipartimento di Fisica Università degli Studi della Calabria) , Claudio Ferrero (ESRF) , Igor Dolbnya (Diamond Light Source) , Thomas Weiss (Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory) , Roberto Berardi (Dipartimento di Chimica Fisica e Inorganica and INSTM CRIMSON Università di Bologna) , Luca Muccioli (Dipartimento di Chimica Fisica e Inorganica and INSTM CRIMSON Università di Bologna) , Silvia Orlandi (Dipartimento di Chimica Fisica e Inorganica and INSTM CRIMSON Università di Bologna) , Claudio Zannoni (Dipartimento di Chimica Fisica e Inorganica and INSTM CRIMSON Università di Bologna Viale)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Advanced Functional Materials , VOL 19 (16) , PAGES 2592-2600

State: Published (Approved)
Published: August 2009

Abstract: The still undiscovered fluid ferroelectric nematic phase is expected to exhibit a much faster and easier response to an external electric field compared to conventional ferroelectric smectic liquid crystals; therefore, the discovery of such a phase could open new avenues in electro-optic device technology. Here, experimental evidence of a ferroelectric response to a switching electric field in a low molar mass nematic liquid crystal is reported and connected with field-induced biaxiality. The fluid is made of bent-core polar molecules and is nematic over a range of 120 °C. Combining repolarization current measurements, electro-optical characterizations, X-ray diffraction and computer simulations, ferroelectric switching is demonstrated and it is concluded that the response is due to field-induced reorganization of polar cybotactic groups within the nematic phase. This work represents significant progress toward the realization of ferroelectric fluids that can be aligned at command with a simple electric field.

Journal Keywords: Cybotactic Groups; Electro-Optic Devices; Ferroelectricity; Nematic Biaxiality; Theoretical Simulations; X-Ray Diffraction

Subject Areas: Physics


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