Macroscopic biaxiality and electric-field–induced rotation of the minor director in the nematic phase of a bent-core liquid crystal
Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin Dublin 2, Ireland, EU
2 Institute of Physics, University of Silesia - Katowice, Poland, EU
Accepted: 31 August 2010
Biaxiality in the nematic phase has been investigated for the bent-core liquid-crystal para-heptylbenzoate diester, using polarised IR spectroscopy. Anisotropic fluctuations of the nematic director are discussed in terms of the self-assembly of the chiral conformers. The ordering of the minor director for the homeotropicaly aligned sample is found to depend on the rubbing of the substrates of the cell and the amplitude of in-plane electric field. On increasing the in-plane electric field, the rotation of the minor director in the plane of the substrate is observed with an angle of approximately 45°, where initially the minor director is shown to lie along the rubbing direction. It is also shown that on the average the long axis of the molecules is normal to the substrate with surface treatment, with and without rubbing. The electric in-plane field combined with rubbing is shown to induce biaxial order in the nematic phase of a material with negative dielectic anisotropy for the first time.
PACS: 61.30.Gd – Orientational order of liquid crystals; electric and magnetic field effects on order / 61.30.Eb – Experimental determinations of smectic, nematic, cholesteric, and other structures / 78.30.Jw – Organic compounds, polymers
© EPLA, 2010