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Origin of spontaneous polarisation, tilt and chiral structure of smectic liquid crystal phases composed of bent-core molecules. A molecular model

Emelyanenko, A.V. and Osipov, M.A. (2004) Origin of spontaneous polarisation, tilt and chiral structure of smectic liquid crystal phases composed of bent-core molecules. A molecular model. Physical Review E: Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics, 70 (021704). pp. 1-8. ISSN 1063-651X

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Abstract

A simple molecular model is proposed for novel bent-core smectic phases that enables one to explain the origin of the experimentally observed chiral structure of the B2 phase composed of nonchiral banana-shaped molecules. It is shown that in the perfectly ordered smectic phase the distributed dispersion interaction between banana-shaped molecules stabilizes the spontaneous polarization and may be responsible for the tilt of the director. The orientation of the spontaneous polarization with respect to the tilt plane is determined by the balance between the dispersion and electrostatic dipole-dipole intermolecular interactions. In particular, sufficiently strong dipole-dipole interaction promotes the B2 phase where the polarization is normal to the tilt plane. The actual chiral structure of each smectic layer in the B2 phase appears as a result of the symmetry breaking. In the case of small molecular dipoles the nonchiral polar smectic phase is formed where the spontaneous polarization is parallel to the tilt plane. The role of the opening angle and of the axial ratio of banana-shaped molecules is also considered and a phase diagram is presented.