1 H NMR Study of Molecular Order and Dynamics in the Liquid Crystal CB-C9-CB

Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2019 Feb 20;21(8):4523-4537. doi: 10.1039/c8cp06868b.


Molecular order and dynamics of the CB-C9-CB liquid crystalline dimer exhibiting the nematic (N) and the twist bend nematic (Ntb) phases were investigated by proton NMR spectroscopy, using fields of 0.78 T and 7.04 T, and relaxometry. The first relaxometry experiments for a very wide Larmor frequency domain (8 kHz-300 MHz) on this system, using a combination of standard and fast field cycling NMR techniques, were performed. The spectroscopy results in the Ntb phase allowed us to probe the local molecular orientation relative to the Ntb helix axis. The relaxation data were analyzed considering order director fluctuations (ODF), molecular self-diffusion (SD) and local molecular rotations/reorientations (R) relaxation mechanisms. Global fits of theoretical relaxation models, as a function of temperature and Larmor frequency, for the phases under investigation, allowed for the determination of rotational correlation times, diffusion coefficients, viscoelastic parameters, correlation lengths and activation energies (in the case of thermally activated mechanisms). A clear difference between the structures of the N and Ntb phases was detected from the results of proton spin-lattice relaxation through distinct temperature and frequency dependencies' signatures of the collective modes. Significant pre-transitional effects were observed at the N-Ntb phase transition both from relaxometry and spectroscopy data. The experimental results correlate to data and models for comparable liquid crystalline systems.