Chiral heliconical ground state of nanoscale pitch in a nematic liquid crystal of achiral molecular dimers. Journal Article uri icon



  • Freeze-fracture transmission electron microscopy study of the nanoscale structure of the so-called "twist-bend" nematic phase of the cyanobiphenyl (CB) dimer molecule CB(CH2)7CB reveals stripe-textured fracture planes that indicate fluid layers periodically arrayed in the bulk with a spacing of d ~ 8.3 nm. Fluidity and a rigorously maintained spacing result in long-range-ordered 3D focal conic domains. Absence of a lamellar X-ray reflection at wavevector q ~ 2π/d or its harmonics in synchrotron-based scattering experiments indicates that this periodic structure is achieved with no detectable associated modulation of the electron density, and thus has nematic rather than smectic molecular ordering. A search for periodic ordering with d ~ in CB(CH2)7CB using atomistic molecular dynamic computer simulation yields an equilibrium heliconical ground state, exhibiting nematic twist and bend, of the sort first proposed by Meyer, and envisioned in systems of bent molecules by Dozov and Memmer. We measure the director cone angle to be θ(TB) ~ 25° and the full pitch of the director helix to be p(TB) ~ 8.3 nm, a very small value indicating the strong coupling of molecular bend to director bend.

publication date

  • October 1, 2013

has subject area

has restriction

  • bronze

Date in CU Experts

  • September 9, 2013 9:19 AM

Full Author List

  • Chen D; Porada JH; Hooper JB; Klittnick A; Shen Y; Tuchband MR; Korblova E; Bedrov D; Walba DM; Glaser MA

author count

  • 12

Other Profiles

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1091-6490

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 15931

end page

  • 15936


  • 110


  • 40