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Continuous Paranematic-to-Nematic Ordering Transitions of Liquid Crystals in Tubular Silica Nanochannels

Abstract : The optical birefringence of rodlike nematogens (7CB, 8CB), imbibed in parallel silica channels with 10 nm diameter and 300 μm length, is measured and compared to the thermotropic bulk behavior. The orientational order of the confined liquid crystals, quantified by the uniaxial nematic ordering parameter, evolves continuously between paranematic and nematic states, in contrast to the discontinuous isotropic-to-nematic bulk phase transitions. A Landau de Gennes model reveals that the strength of the orientational ordering fields, imposed by the silica walls, is beyond a critical threshold, that separates discontinuous from continuous paranematic-to-nematic behavior. Quenched disorder effects, attributable to wall irregularities, leave the transition temperatures affected only marginally, despite the strong ordering fields in the channels.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - 3:17:21 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 4:46:10 PM

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Andriy Kityk, Matthias Wolff, Klaus Knorr, Denis Morineau, Ronan Lefort, et al.. Continuous Paranematic-to-Nematic Ordering Transitions of Liquid Crystals in Tubular Silica Nanochannels. Physical Review Letters, American Physical Society, 2008, 101, pp.187801. ⟨10.1103/PHYSREVLETT.101.187801⟩. ⟨hal-00724552⟩

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