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Biaxiality-driven twist-bend to splay-bend nematic phase transition induced by an electric field

Biaxiality-driven twist-bend to splay-bend nematic phase transition induced by an electric field
Biaxiality-driven twist-bend to splay-bend nematic phase transition induced by an electric field
Although the existence of the twist-bend (NTB) and splay-bend (NSB) nematic phases was predicted long ago, only the former has as yet been observed experimentally, whereas the latter remains elusive. This is especially disappointing because the NSB nematic is promising for applications in electro-optic devices. By applying an electric field to a planar cell filled with the compound CB7CB, we have found an NTB-NSB phase transition using birefringence measurements. This field-induced transition to the biaxial NSB occurred, although the field was applied along the symmetry axis of the macroscopically uniaxial NTB. Therefore, this transition is a counterintuitive example of breaking of the macroscopic uniaxial symmetry. We show by theoretical modeling that the transition cannot be explained without considering explicitly the biaxiality of both phases at the microscopic scale. This strongly suggests that molecular biaxiality should be a key factor favoring the stability of the NSB phase.
2375-2548
Meyer, Claire
2e557831-5500-4cc2-a7fb-36d4c71d5f50
Blanc, Christophe
7cb99651-e7c4-497d-9560-3c8b6d038b54
Luckhurst, Geoffrey
3deaf900-9562-4589-ab5e-3b1fc6fce1a9
Davidson, Patrick
f21cdb72-a3b9-4fcc-ba18-aa5160aa0a87
Dozov, Ivan
81414aa2-d72f-4a93-897b-ef0c394ab30d
Meyer, Claire
2e557831-5500-4cc2-a7fb-36d4c71d5f50
Blanc, Christophe
7cb99651-e7c4-497d-9560-3c8b6d038b54
Luckhurst, Geoffrey
3deaf900-9562-4589-ab5e-3b1fc6fce1a9
Davidson, Patrick
f21cdb72-a3b9-4fcc-ba18-aa5160aa0a87
Dozov, Ivan
81414aa2-d72f-4a93-897b-ef0c394ab30d

Meyer, Claire, Blanc, Christophe, Luckhurst, Geoffrey, Davidson, Patrick and Dozov, Ivan (2020) Biaxiality-driven twist-bend to splay-bend nematic phase transition induced by an electric field. Science Advances, 6 (36), [eabb8212]. (doi:10.1126/sciadv.abb8212).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Although the existence of the twist-bend (NTB) and splay-bend (NSB) nematic phases was predicted long ago, only the former has as yet been observed experimentally, whereas the latter remains elusive. This is especially disappointing because the NSB nematic is promising for applications in electro-optic devices. By applying an electric field to a planar cell filled with the compound CB7CB, we have found an NTB-NSB phase transition using birefringence measurements. This field-induced transition to the biaxial NSB occurred, although the field was applied along the symmetry axis of the macroscopically uniaxial NTB. Therefore, this transition is a counterintuitive example of breaking of the macroscopic uniaxial symmetry. We show by theoretical modeling that the transition cannot be explained without considering explicitly the biaxiality of both phases at the microscopic scale. This strongly suggests that molecular biaxiality should be a key factor favoring the stability of the NSB phase.

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Accepted/In Press date: 20 July 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 2 September 2020
Published date: 2 September 2020
Additional Information: Copyright © 2020 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC).

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 444878
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/444878
ISSN: 2375-2548
PURE UUID: 3bd074a9-28ec-420a-b13a-fb1d032fdd29

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Date deposited: 09 Nov 2020 17:31
Last modified: 14 Sep 2021 20:43

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