Evaluation of 4-alkoxy-40-nitrobiphenyl liquid crystals for use in next generation scattering LCDs

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We have prepared nine members of the 4-alkoxy-40-nitrobiphenyl family of liquid crystals and evaluated
their thermal behaviour by a combination of polarised optical microscopy, differential scanning
calorimetry and small angle X-ray scattering, as well as in single pixel scattering devices for use in
backlight free liquid crystal displays (LCDs). Whereas homologues with shorter terminal aliphatic chains
are nematogenic, those with longer aliphatic chain lengths exhibit an additional smectic A phase,
identified as the subtype SmAD by SAXS with all materials having a D/L ratio (smectic layer spacing
divided by molecular length) of 1.4. When doped with 0.1 wt% hexadecyltrimethylammonium perchlorate
we observed that the SmAD phase of compound 9 could be switched with a relatively low voltage (58
VRMS, roughly half that required for the analogous nitrile). This apparent reduction in threshold voltage,
which occurs as a consequence of switching from a nitrile- to a nitro- group, provides a new impetus to
study alternative polar terminal groups when designing host materials for smectic A scattering devices.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number64
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2017

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© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2017

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