Microscopic structure and dynamics of a partial bilayer smectic liquid crystal.


Cyanobiphenyls (nCB's) represent a useful and intensively studied class of mesogens. Many of the peculiar properties of nCB's (e.g., the occurrence of the partial bilayer smectic-A(d) phase) are thought to be a manifestation of short-range antiparallel association of neighboring molecules, resulting from strong dipole-dipole interactions between cyano groups. To test and extend existing models of microscopic ordering in nCB's, we carry out large-scale atomistic simulation studies of the microscopic structure and dynamics of the Sm-A(d) phase of 4-octyl-4'-cyanobiphenyl (8CB). We compute a variety of thermodynamic, structural, and dynamical properties for this material, and make a detailed comparison of our results with experimental measurements in order to validate our molecular model. Semiquantitative agreement with experiment is found: the smectic layer spacing and mass density are well reproduced, translational diffusion constants are similar to experiment, but the orientational ordering of alkyl chains is overestimated. This simulation provides a detailed picture of molecular conformation, smectic layer structure, and intermolecular correlations in Sm-A(d) 8CB, and demonstrates that pronounced short-range antiparallel association of molecules arising from dipole-dipole interactions plays a dominant role in determining the molecular-scale structure of 8CB.

Cite this paper

@article{Lansac2001MicroscopicSA, title={Microscopic structure and dynamics of a partial bilayer smectic liquid crystal.}, author={Yves Lansac and Matthew A. Glaser and Noel A. Clark}, journal={Physical review. E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics}, year={2001}, volume={64 5 Pt 1}, pages={051703} }