Distinct differences in the nanoscale behaviors of the twist-bend liquid crystal phase of a flexible linear trimer and homologous dimer

Michael R Tuchband, Daniel A Paterson, Mirosław Salamończyk, Victoria A Norman, Alyssa N Scarbrough, Ewan Forsyth, Edgardo Garcia, Cheng Wang, John M D Storey, David M Walba, Samuel Sprunt, Antal Jákli, Chenhui Zhu, Corrie T Imrie, Noel A Clark

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We synthesized the liquid crystal dimer and trimer members of a series of flexible linear oligomers and characterized their microscopic and nanoscopic properties using resonant soft X-ray scattering and a number of other experimental techniques. On the microscopic scale, the twist-bend phases of the dimer and trimer appear essentially identical. However, while the liquid crystal dimer exhibits a temperature-dependent variation of its twist-bend helical pitch varying from 100 to 170 Å on heating, the trimer exhibits an essentially temperature-independent pitch of 66 Å, significantly shorter than those reported for other twist-bend forming materials in the literature. We attribute this to a specific combination of intrinsic conformational bend of the trimer molecules and a sterically favorable intercalation of the trimers over a commensurate fraction (two-thirds) of the molecular length. We develop a geometric model of the twist-bend phase for these materials with the molecules arranging into helical chain structures, and we fully determine their respective geometric parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10698-10704
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
Early online date14 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2019



  • Liquid crystal
  • Twist-bend nematic
  • trimer
  • Heliconical structure
  • RSoXS
  • Trimer
  • Heliconical
  • Twist–bend nematic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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