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Smectic-A and Smectic-C Phases and Phase Transitions in Liquid Crystal-Aerosil Gels

By B. Freelon, M. Ramazanoglu, P. J. Chung, P. Valdivia, C. W. Garland and R. J. Birgeneau


High-resolution X-ray scattering studies of the nonpolar thermotropic liquid crystal 4-n-pentylphenylthiol-4'-n-octyloxybenzoate (\bar{8}S5) in aerosil gel nano-networks reveal that the aerosil-induced disorder significantly alters both the nematic to Smectic-A and Smectic-A to Smectic-C phase transitions. The limiting Smectic-A correlation length follows a power-law dependence on the aerosil density in quantitative agreement with the limiting lengths measured previously in other Smectic-A liquid crystal gels. The Smectic-A to Smectic-C liquid crystalline phase transition is altered fundamentally by the presence of the aerosil gel. The onset of the Smectic-C phase remains relatively sharp but there is an extended coexistence region where Smectic-A and Smectic-C domains can exist

Topics: Condensed Matter - Soft Condensed Matter
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1103/PhysRevE.84.031705
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