Spontaneous periodic deformations in nonchiral planar-aligned bimesogens with a nematic-nematic transition and a negative elastic constant

Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Oct 15;105(16):167801. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.167801. Epub 2010 Oct 12.

Abstract

Hydrocarbon linked mesogenic dimers are found to exhibit an additional nematic phase below the conventional uniaxial nematic phase as confirmed by x-ray diffraction. The phase produces unusual periodic stripe domains in planar cells. The stripes are found to be parallel to the rubbing direction (in rubbed cells) with a well-defined period equal to double the cell gap. The stripes appear without external electromagnetic field, temperature or thickness gradients, rubbing or hybrid alignment treatments. Simple modeling proposes a negative sign for at least one of the two elastic constants: splay and twist, as a necessary condition for the observed pattern.