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Unusual electric-field-induced transformations in the dark conglomerate phase of a bent-core liquid crystal

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  • M. Nagaraj
  • K. Usami
  • Z. Zhang
  • Verena Görtz
  • John W. Goodby
  • Helen F. Gleeson
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Liquid Crystals
Issue number6
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)800-811
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Unusual behaviour of the dark conglomerate (DC) phase seen in an oxadiazole-based achiral bent-core liquid crystal, which has not previously been reported for the DC phase of other liquid crystals, is described. Under polarising optical microscopy, we see no domains of opposite handedness in the ground state of the DC phase. However, it shows unusual transformations when an electric field is applied to the system. On increasing the electric field, at first the domains of opposite handedness become visible and then they grow in size and slowly the sample transforms to a monochiral or single-handed form which is followed by a nonchiral state at very high fields. The threshold electric fields required to achieve these changes are temperature dependent and the transformations are seen irrespective of the frequency of the applied electric field (100 Hz to 5 kHz), type of the waveform (sine, square and triangular) and the thickness (1.5 μm to 15 μm) or the geometry (planar and twisted) of the device used. Further, there is no field-induced high birefringence texture observed even though sufficiently large electric field (~22 V/μm) has been applied across the devices. The nature of the behaviour is investigated by various techniques such as optical microscopy, conoscopy, circular dichroic and Raman spectroscopies, electro-optics and dielectric spectroscopy. The possible physical phenomena behind these changes are discussed in detail.