Nature of smectic A*-C* phase transitions in a series of ferroelectric liquid crystals with little smectic layer shrinkage

Bezner, Samuel; Krueger, Michael; Hamplová, Věra; Glogarová, Milada; Giesselmann, Frank
February 2007
Journal of Chemical Physics;2/7/2007, Vol. 126 Issue 5, p054902
Academic Journal
The smectic layer spacing of two homologous series of ferroelectric liquid crystal compounds was characterized by small-angle x-ray diffraction and different degrees of smectic layer shrinkage on cooling from the SmA* into the SmC* phase were observed. The smectic A*-smectic C* phase transition was further studied by measuring the thermal and electric field effects on the optical tilt angle and the electric polarization. With decreasing length of the alkyl terminal chain the phase transition changes from tricritical exhibiting high layer shrinkage to a pure second-order transition with almost no layer shrinkage. This is explained by the increased one-dimensional translational order of the smectic layers, which seems to promote the “de Vries”-type [Mol. Cryst. Liq. Cryst. 41, 27 (1977)] smectic A*-C* phase transition with no or little layer shrinkage.


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