Engineering Mesophase Stability and Structure via Incorporation of Cyclic Terminal Groups

14 December 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


We report on the characterisation of a number of liquid-crystalline materials featuring cyclic terminal groups, which lead to significant enhancements in the temperature range of the mesomorphic state. Materials with only short terminal chains are able to support lamellar mesophase formation by appending a large terminal cyclic unit at the end of a short methylene spacer. X-ray scattering experiments reveal that the layer spacings of the lamellar smectic phase are significantly larger when a cyclic end-group is present than for equivalent linear unsubstituted materials, but there is no effect on orientational order. Fully atomistic molecular dynamics simulations faithfully reproduce experimental layer spacings and orientational order parameters, and indicate that the cyclic terminal units spontaneously segregate into diffuse sub-layers and thus cause the increased layer spacing. This shape segregation predicted by molecular dynamics simulations is observed in the crystalline solid state by X-ray diffraction.


Liquid Crystal
Molecular Dynamics
X-ray scattering


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