Nematic Twist-Bend Phase with Nanoscale Modulation of Molecular Orientation

V. Borshch, Y K Kim, J Xiang, M. Gao, A Jakli, V P Panov, J K Vij, C T Imrie, M G Tampa, G H Mehl, O D Lavrentovich

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A state of matter in which molecules show a long-range orientational order and no positional order is called a nematic liquid crystal. The best known and most widely used (for example, in modern displays) is the uniaxial nematic, with the rod-like molecules aligned along a single axis, called the director. When the molecules are chiral, the director twists in space, drawing a right-angle helicoid and remaining perpendicular to the helix axis; the structure is called a chiral nematic. Here using transmission electron and optical microscopy, we experimentally demonstrate a new nematic order, formed by achiral molecules, in which the director follows an oblique helicoid, maintaining a constant oblique angle with the helix axis and experiencing twist and bend. The oblique helicoids have a nanoscale pitch. The new twist-bend nematic represents a structural link between the uniaxial nematic (no tilt) and a chiral nematic (helicoids with right-angle tilt).
Original languageEnglish
Article number2635
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2013

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    Borshch, V., Kim, Y. K., Xiang, J., Gao, M., Jakli, A., Panov, V. P., Vij, J. K., Imrie, C. T., Tampa, M. G., Mehl, G. H., & Lavrentovich, O. D. (2013). Nematic Twist-Bend Phase with Nanoscale Modulation of Molecular Orientation. Nature Communications, 4, [2635].