Complex dielectric relaxation in supercooling and superpressing liquid-crystalline chiral isopentylcyanobiphenyl

Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2003 Sep;68(3 Pt 1):031705. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.68.031705. Epub 2003 Sep 18.


Results of broadband dielectric studies in glass-forming liquid crystalline chiral isopentylcyanobiphenyl (5(*)CB) are presented. Tests conducted as a function of temperature and pressure revealed the coexistence of glassy and critical properties. The latter are associated with the isotropic-cholesteric phase transition at T(I-Ch) approximately 250 K under atmospheric pressure. Dielectric loss curves in the isotropic liquid and in the cholesteric phase are clearly broadened on cooling and pressuring towards the glass transition. Although in the isotropic phase there is a single stretched loss curve, in the mesophase an additional relaxation process can be distinguished. The evolution of relaxation times is non-Arrhenius and can be portrayed by the Vogel-Fulcher-Tamman relation or its pressure counterpart. The glassy dynamics coexists with the critical-like behavior for the static dielectric permittivity and for the maxima of the dielectric loss curves. Their temperature and pressure dependences are associated with the critical exponent phi=1-alpha approximately 1/2, where alpha approximately 1/2 is the specific heat critical exponent. This behavior is associated with the continuous phase transition placed at DeltaT approximately 1.5 K below the clearing temperature for P=0.1 MPa. It has been found that 5(*)CB shows a unique pressure-temperature phase diagram. Pressure and temperature changes which begin in the isotropic liquid below at ca. T approximately 265 K always result in the transition to the cholesteric phase which can be supercooled or superpressed. For T>265 K the phase transition to another phase, presumably a solid one, always occurs. However, a cholesteric-solid phase border seems to exist only in isothermal pressure tests. It does not appear in the temperature studies.