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Probing the material properties and phase transitions of ferroelectric liquid crystals by determination of the Landau potential

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • P. Archer
  • I. Dierking
  • V. Gortz
  • J. W. Goodby
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2008
<mark>Journal</mark>The European Physical Journal E
Issue number4
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)385-393
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The full Landau potential of several, widely varying ferroelectric liquid-crystalline materials has been experimentally determined. Tilt angle and polarisation data is analysed across the SmA* to SmC* transition for varying applied electric-field amplitudes, allowing the determination of all the coefficients of the generalised Landau model of ferroelectric liquid crystals. The materials investigated encompass different materials, including low-polarisation mixtures to high-polarisation single-component materials. The materials also possess a variation in the order of the SmA* to SmC* phase transition from strongly first order to strongly second order. The effects of both the polarisation and order of phase transition of the system are discussed with respect to the various terms of the generalised Landau model. Further, the mechanisms behind the difference between a first- and second-order phase transition are discussed with respect to the Landau potential and the second Landau coefficient b.