Unexpected electric-field-induced antiferroelectric liquid crystal phase in the Sm C*α temperature range and the discrete flexoelectric effect

Takanishi, Yoichi and Iida, Atsuo and Yadav, Neelam and Chandani Perera, A. D. L. and Fukuda, Atsuo and Osipov, Mikhail A. and Vij, Jagdish K. (2019) Unexpected electric-field-induced antiferroelectric liquid crystal phase in the Sm C*α temperature range and the discrete flexoelectric effect. Physical Review E, 100 (1). 010701. ISSN 2470-0045

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    Abstract

    The unique nanometer-sized helical structure in SmCα∗ may sometimes evolve continuously to the micrometer-sized one in SmC∗; conceivably ferroelectric SmCα∗ is to be unwound by an applied electric field. By drawing electric-field-induced birefringence contours in the field-temperature phase diagram and by studying the superlattice structure of the field-induced subphase with resonant x-ray scattering, we established that an applied field unexpectedly stabilizes the well-known antiferroelectric four-layer biaxial subphase as well as the other prototypal ferrielectric three-layer one in the SmCα∗ temperature range; the effective long-range interlayer interaction due to the discrete flexoelectric effect actually plays an important role in stabilizing not only the biaxial subphases but also the optically uniaxial SmCα∗ subphase, contrary to the notion that the competition between the direct interactions of the nearest-neighbor layers and those of the next-nearest-neighbor layers should be required for the nanometer-sized helical structure.