Europhys. Lett.
Volume 76, Number 2, October 2006
Page(s) 250 - 256
Section Condensed matter: structural, mechanical and thermal properties
Published online 08 September 2006
Europhys. Lett., 76 (2), pp. 250-256 (2006)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2006-10253-y

Ferroelectricity-induced effects in interaction and self-organization of inclusions in smectic membranes

P. V. Dolganov1, H. T. Nguyen2, G. Joly3, V. K. Dolganov1 and P. Cluzeau2

1  Institute of Solid State Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences 142432, Chernogolovka, Moscow district, Russia
2  Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal, CNRS Avenue A. Schweitzer, 33600 Pessac, France
3  Laboratoire de Dynamique et Structure des Materiaux Moléculaires UMR CNRS 8024, Université de Lille I 59655 Villeneuve d'Ascq, France

received 7 July 2006; accepted 21 August 2006
published online 8 September 2006

Our experiments reveal that breaking of chiral symmetry in smectic membranes leads to a dramatic modification of the collective behavior of inclusions. We investigated nematic and cholesteric droplets, respectively, in nonpolar membranes formed by the racemic mixture and in ferroelectric ones formed by the chiral isomer. Inclusions in nonpolar and polar membranes induce substantially different elastic deformation of the c-director field: quadrupolar symmetry and dipolar symmetry, respectively. Interaction between inclusions related with deformation of the c-director field leads to self-organization of inclusions into linear chains in ferroelectric membranes and into clusters in nonpolar membranes. The experiments suggest that polarization-induced charges play a substantial role in self-organization processes in ferroelectric membranes.

61.30.Jf - Defects in liquid crystals.
61.30.Gd - Orientational order of liquid crystals; electric and magnetic field effects on order.
81.16.Dn - Self-assembly.

© EDP Sciences 2006