Molecular length distribution and the formation of smectic phases

Nadia Kapernaum, C. Scott Hartley, Jeffrey C. Roberts, Robert P. Lemieux, and Frank Giesselmann*
Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2009, 5, no. 65
[Published version]


The phase diagrams of two mixtures of chemically similar smectogenic mesogens strongly differing in molecular length were investigated. In these mixtures the nematic phase present in the pure short mesogen disappeared rapidly on the addition of the longer mesogen, while the smectic state was preserved. In the smectic state the smectic A phase was the much more stable phase as the smectic C phase disappeared quite rapidly as well. In these compounds the loss of the smectic C phase is accompanied by a decrease in smectic translational order and very small tilt angles. This leads to a concentration induced smectic C to smectic A transition. Thus smectic A seems to be the most stable phase to accommodate mesogenic molecules of substantially different length. These surprising results are of general interest for the understanding of the structure and dynamics of smectic phases, as the structure of these bidisperse smectics is signified by extensive out-of-layer fluctuations.