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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2011 Sep;84(3 Pt 1):031704. Epub 2011 Sep 16.

Phase behavior and properties of the liquid-crystal dimer 1'',7''-bis(4-cyanobiphenyl-4'-yl) heptane: a twist-bend nematic liquid crystal.

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School of Chemistry, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, United Kingdom.


The liquid-crystal dimer 1'',7''-bis(4-cyanobiphenyl-4'-yl)heptane (CB7CB) exhibits two liquid-crystalline mesophases on cooling from the isotropic phase. The high-temperature phase is nematic; the identification and characterization of the other liquid-crystal phase is reported in this paper. It is concluded that the low-temperature mesophase of CB7CB is a new type of uniaxial nematic phase having a nonuniform director distribution composed of twist-bend deformations. The techniques of small-angle x-ray scattering, modulated differential scanning calorimetry, and dielectric spectroscopy have been applied to establish the nature of the nematic-nematic phase transition and the structural features of the twist-bend nematic phase. In addition, magnetic resonance studies (electron-spin resonance and (2)H nuclear magnetic resonance) have been used to investigate the orientational order and director distribution in the liquid-crystalline phases of CB7CB. The synthesis of a specifically deuterated sample of CB7CB is reported, and measurements showed a bifurcation of the quadrupolar splitting on entering the low-temperature mesophase from the high-temperature nematic phase. This splitting could be interpreted in terms of the chirality of the twist-bend structure of the director. Calculations using an atomistic model and the surface interaction potential with Monte Carlo sampling have been carried out to determine the conformational distribution and predict dielectric and elastic properties in the nematic phase. The former are in agreement with experimental measurements, while the latter are consistent with the formation of a twist-bend nematic phase.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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