Phases and properties of nanocomposites of hydrogen-bonded liquid crystals and carbon nanotubes.


We investigated a series of nanocomposites, built of the hydrogen-bonded liquid crystal (LC) p-n-heptyloxybenzoic acid (7OBA) and single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) by optical microtexture analysis and other complementary methods. The surface orientation strength of the LC cell and the bulk interaction of the dimeric LC molecules with the SWCNTs turn out to mainly govern the type (symmetry), thermal stability, and chirality of the LC states induced in these nanocomposites. As a result, a cascade of phase transitions and phases not typical for pristine 7OBA were observed and additionally confirmed by temperature-dependent Raman spectroscopy and differential scanning calorimetry. The most effective SWCNT concentrations in the LC matrix, ensuring both the necessary conformability between these materials and induction of liquid crystal phases with unique optical and electro-optical properties, were found to be in the range of 0.01-0.007 wt%. Reversal of smectic phases into reentrant nematic states as well as induction of chirality in all LC phases were observed in the SWCNT-7OBA nanocomposite, even though pure 7OBA is typically achiral. However, our most intriguing result is the detection below the reentrant nematic of a triclinic smectic-C(G) phase, which is chiral and biaxial, and exhibits bulk ferroelectricity.

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@article{Petrov2013PhasesAP, title={Phases and properties of nanocomposites of hydrogen-bonded liquid crystals and carbon nanotubes.}, author={Michal Petrov and B. Katranchev and Peter M Rafailov and H Naradikian and Urszula Dettlaff-Weglikowska and E Keskinova and Tony Spassov}, journal={Physical review. E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics}, year={2013}, volume={88 4}, pages={042503} }