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Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Oct 15;105(16):167801. Epub 2010 Oct 12.

Spontaneous periodic deformations in nonchiral planar-aligned bimesogens with a nematic-nematic transition and a negative elastic constant.

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Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Trinity College, University of Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland.


Hydrocarbon linked mesogenic dimers are found to exhibit an additional nematic phase below the conventional uniaxial nematic phase as confirmed by x-ray diffraction. The phase produces unusual periodic stripe domains in planar cells. The stripes are found to be parallel to the rubbing direction (in rubbed cells) with a well-defined period equal to double the cell gap. The stripes appear without external electromagnetic field, temperature or thickness gradients, rubbing or hybrid alignment treatments. Simple modeling proposes a negative sign for at least one of the two elastic constants: splay and twist, as a necessary condition for the observed pattern.

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