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Conformational landscapes of bimesogenic compounds and their implications for the formation of modulated nematic phases

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JournalLIQUID CRYSTALS
DateAccepted/In press - 2 Aug 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 2 Aug 2017
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)1-11
Early online date2/08/17
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The twist-bend phase (NTB) is most commonly observed in materials with a gross-bent shape: dimers; bent-cores; bent-oligomers. We had suggested previously that the bend-angle of such systems effectively dictates the relative thermal stability of the NTB phase. However, our earlier paper relied on the use of a single energy-minimum conformer and so failed to capture any information about flexibility and conformational distribution. In the present work, we revisit our hypothesis and examine a second set of dimers with varying linking groups and spacer composition. We have improved on our earlier work by studying the conformational landscape of each material, allowing average bend-angles to be determined as well as the conformer distribution. We observe that the stability of the NTB phase exhibits a strong dependence not only on the Boltzmann-weighted average bend-angle (rather than just a static conformer), but also on the distribution of conformers. To a lesser extent, the flexibility of the spacer appears important. Ultimately, this work satisfies both theoretical treatments and our initial experimental study and demonstrates the importance of molecular bend to the NTB phase.

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© 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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