Reentrant ferroelectricity in liquid crystals

Phys Rev Lett. 2001 Apr 2;86(14):3048-51. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.86.3048.


The ferroelectric (Sm C*)-antiferroelectric (Sm C*A)-reentrant ferroelectric (re Sm C*) phase temperature sequence was observed for systems with competing synclinic-anticlinic interactions. The basic properties of this system are as follows: (i) the Sm C* phase is metastable in the temperature range of the Sm C*A; (ii) the helix handedness inverts at both Sm C*-Sm C*A and Sm C*A-re-Sm C* phase transitions; (iii) the threshold electric field that is necessary to induce synclinic ordering in the Sm C*A phase decreases near both Sm C*A-Sm C* and Sm C*A-re-Sm C* phase boundaries. All these properties are properly described by a simple Landau model that accounts for nearest neighboring layer steric interactions and quadrupolar ordering only.