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See detailThe peculiar optic, dielectric and x-ray diffraction properties of a fluorinated de vries asymmetric-diffuse-cone-model ferroelectric liquid crystal
Lagerwall, Jan UL; Coleman, D.; Körblova, E. et al

in Liquid Crystals (2006), 33(1), 17-24

A new semi-fluorinated chiral smectic liquid crystal, W504, is investigated by electro-optic, dielectric and X-ray scattering experiments. It exhibits a huge dielectric soft mode response, strong ... [more ▼]

A new semi-fluorinated chiral smectic liquid crystal, W504, is investigated by electro-optic, dielectric and X-ray scattering experiments. It exhibits a huge dielectric soft mode response, strong electroclinic effect and a birefringence which increases considerably with the director tilt angle theta; typical characteristics of a SmA - SmC transition following the de Vries asymmetric diffuse cone (ADC) model in which the non-zero director tilt in SmC arises through an ordering of tilting directions rather than an actual increase in average molecule tilt <theta(mol)>. In W504 a small increase in <theta(mol)> of about 4 degrees is however detected in the SmC phase. Although the increase in molecule inclination is much less than the increase in director tilt h, saturating close to 30 degrees, it leads to a shrinkage of the smectic layers by about 1 angstrom, a result of the large initial molecule tilt in the SmA phase, <theta(mol)>(SmA) approximate to 30 degrees. The tilting transition in W504 is thus mainly an ADC model disorder - order transition, but it also has a component of a structural transition. The semi- fluorinated molecular structure of W504 leads to a very weak electron density modulation along the layer normal, giving a vanishing form factor in bulk samples which exhibit no (001) X-ray scattering peak. In thin films the (001) peak is however observed, indicating that the electron density modulation is enhanced by the breaking of the head - tail symmetry of the liquid crystal phase at the LC - air interface. [less ▲]

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