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J Am Chem Soc. 2011 Aug 17;133(32):12656-63. doi: 10.1021/ja203522x. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

Chirality-preserving growth of helical filaments in the B4 phase of bent-core liquid crystals.

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Department of Physics and Liquid Crystal Materials Research Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0390, United States.


The growth of helical filaments in the B4 liquid-crystal phase was investigated in mixtures of the bent-core and calamitic mesogens NOBOW and 8CB. Freezing-point depression led to nucleation of the NOBOW B4 phase directly from the isotropic phase in the mixtures, forming large left- and right-handed chiral domains that were easily observed in the microscope. We show that these domains are composed of homochiral helical filaments formed in a nucleation and growth process that starts from a nucleus of arbitrary chirality and continues with chirality-preserving growth of the filaments. A model that accounts for the observed local homochirality and phase coherence of the branched filaments is proposed. This model will help in providing a better understanding of the nature of the B4 phase and controlling its growth and morphology for applications, such as the use of the helical nanophase as a nanoheterogeneous medium.


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