A Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal Conglomerate Composed of Racemic Molecules

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Science  23 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5474, pp. 2181-2184
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5474.2181

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We describe the design and synthesis of a ferroelectric liquid crystal composed of racemic molecules. The ferroelectric polarization results from spontaneous polar symmetry breaking in a fluid smectic. The ferroelectric phase is also chiral, resulting in the formation of a mixture of macroscopic domains of either handedness at the isotropic-to-liquid crystal phase transition. This smectic liquid crystal is thus a fluid conglomerate. Detailed investigation of the electrooptic and polarization current behavior within individual domains in liquid crystal cells shows the thermodynamically stable structure to be a uniformly tilted smectic bow-phase (banana phase), with all layer pairs homochiral and ferroelectric (SmCSPF).

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