Europhys. Lett.
Volume 64, Number 3, November 2003
Page(s) 337 - 343
Section Condensed matter: structure, mechanical and thermal properties
Published online 01 November 2003
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2003-00186-5
Europhys. Lett., 64 (3) , pp. 337-343 (2003)

Continuous crossover from oblate to prolate backbone conformations in nematic side-chain polymers

P. P. F. Wessels and B. M. Mulder

FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics (AMOLF) Kruislaan 407, 1012 DW, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

(Received 18 February 2003; accepted in final form 18 August 2003)

We present a density functional formalism for the phase behaviour of side-chain liquid-crystalline polymers. The theory explicitly takes into account the full molecular geometry, the different character of the constituents, and the flexibility of the molecular components. We obtain results on bulk properties as well as the local distribution of orientational order within the polymers. The theory rules out the possibility of nematic-nematic phase transitions, and we observe a continuous crossover from oblate to prolate backbone conformations, in contrast to earlier predictions.

61.30.Cz - Molecular and microscopic models and theories of liquid crystal structure.
61.30.Vx - Polymer liquid crystals.
64.70.Md - Transitions in liquid crystals.

© EDP Sciences 2003