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Liquid Crystals
Year: 2008  |  Volume: 35  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 711 - 717

Fast switching near a smectic-to-nematic phase transition

Sebastian Gauza, Amanda Parish, Shin-Tson Wu, Anna Spadlo and Roman Dabrowski    

Abstract: We have designed, synthesised and evaluated the physical properties of high-birefringence (Δn) isothiocyanato phenyl-tolane and terphenyl liquid crystals. These compounds exhibit a Δn∼0.36-0.52 at room temperature and wavelength λ = 633 nm. A different mesomorphic sequence was observed depending on the terminal alkyl chain length. Compounds with a longer chain show smectic and nematic phases, whereas short-chain homologues only exhibit a nematic phase. In the vicinity of the nematic-to-smectic transition, the viscoelastic coefficient decreases, instead of increases, as the temperature decreases. The observed change is as large as 75% for the 4`-(3,5-difluoro-4-isothiocyanatophenylethynyl)-4-pentylbiphenyl compound studied. This behaviour is useful for improving the response time of a liquid crystal device, if the operating temperature can be controlled accurately.

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