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Molecular Flexibility and Bend in Semi‐Rigid Liquid Crystals: Implications for the Heliconical Nematic Ground State

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JournalChemistry : A European Journal
DateAccepted/In press - 4 Sep 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 4 Sep 2019
Early online date4/09/19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The NTB phase phases possess a local helical structure with a pitch length of a few nanometers and is typically exhibited by materials consisting of two rigid mesogenic units linked by a flexibile oligomethylene spacer of odd parity, giving a bent shape. We report the synthesis and characterisation of two novel dimeric liquid crystals, and perform a computational study on ten cyanobiphenyl dimers with varying linking groups, generating a large library of conformers for each compound; this allows us to present molecular bend angles as probability weighted averages of many conformers, rather than use a single conformer. We validate conformer libraries by comparison of interproton distances with those obtained from solution based 1D 1H NOESY NMR, finding good agreement between experiment and computational work. Conversely, we find that using any single conformer fails to reproduce experimental interproton distances. We find the use of a single conformer significantly overestimates the molecular bend angle while also ignoring flexibility; we show that the average bend angle and flexibility are both linked to the relative stability of the NTB phase.

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© 2019 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.

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