Field-induced phase transitions and reversible field-induced inversion of chirality in tilted smectic phases of bent-core mesogens
Three homologous achiral five-ring bent-core mesogens are presented where 4-chlororesorcinol is the central core and the aromatic rings are linked by ester groups. These compounds form smectic phases with a tilted arrangement of the molecules (tilt angle ≈ 45°). On cooling the isotropic liquid this phase adopts a fan-like texture which shows for two homologues at relatively high electric fields ( 25-35V μm^-1) an antiferroelectric electro-optical response based on the collective rotation of the molecules around their long axes. At lower temperature the application of a sufficiently high electric field leads to a continuous transition into a non-birefringent texture which exhibits randomly distributed domains of opposite handedness. These domains can be reversibly switched into a state of opposite chirality by reversal of the field polarity. This switching is bistable and shows a current response typical for a ferroelectric ground state. The possible mechanism of the field-induced phase transition, of the ferroelectric switching and of the field-induced inversion of the chirality is discussed on the base of XRD, 13C- and 1H-NMR investigations, dielectric and electro-optical measurements.
PACS.64.70.Md Transitions in liquid crystals 77.84.Nh Liquids, emulsions, and suspensions; liquid crystals 77.84.-s Dielectric, piezoelectric, ferroelectric, and antiferroelectric materials 61.30.-v Liquid crystals
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