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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2001 May;63(5 Pt 1):051702. Epub 2001 Apr 16.

Effect of silica aerosil dispersions on the dielectric properties of a nematic liquid crystal.

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  • 1Laboratorium voor Akoestiek en Thermische Fysica, Departement Natuurkunde, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200D, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium.


The static and dynamic aspects of (4-n-heptyl-4'-cyanobiphenyl) (7CB) perturbed by the dispersion of 70-A-diameter hydrophilic silica aerosil spheres have been investigated using dielectric spectroscopy. Results on five mixtures of 7CB plus silica aerosil are presented in order to probe systematically the disorder introduced by the silica aerosil network on the 7CB molecules. Measurements on homeotropically aligned samples have been made from 75 kHz to 30 MHz in the temperature range 30-60 degrees C. It was found for the mixtures that the nematic-isotropic transition temperature is lower than that of the bulk 7CB. Bulklike relaxation processes due to the rotation of the molecules around the short axis have been analyzed, and were found to follow Arrhenius-type behavior in the nematic phase except in the vicinity of the nematic-isotropic transition temperature. These processes are slightly faster in the mixture than in the free phase. A dielectric process in the low frequency range, absent in the bulk, has been observed in samples with higher silica concentration. All the observed relaxation processes in the mixtures are of non-Debye type.

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