Tunable backflow in chiral nematic liquid crystals via twist-bend nematogens and surface-localised in-situ polymer protrusions

Vinay Joshi*, Daniel A. Paterson, John M.D. Storey, Corrie T. Imrie, Liang Chy Chien

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Dynamic electro-optic response of the liquid crystal (LC) director shows a backflow effect that is manifested as an optical bounce in chiral nematic LCs (N*LC) during field-induced homeotropic-twisted transition. The bend elastic constant (K33) strongly influences the dynamics of backflow at the N*LC in homeotropic-twisted transition. The cyanobiphenyl LC dimers – CB7CB, CB9CB and CB11CB – possess a unique characteristic of inherent bend molecular configuration that lowers K33. With the modulation of the effective K33 in dimer-doped N*LCs, we report the tunability of the optical bounce that decreases with the increase in the length of flexible spacers in LC dimers. The doped LC dimers with short spacer lengths not only generate a strong backflow with an enhanced twist degeneracy of the LC director across the cell, but also prolong the time of disappearance of the optical bounce. Furthermore, we demonstrate the suppression of the optical bounce with surface localised polymer protrusions having 50–100 nm diameters, which allow faster dynamic relaxation process and reduced backflow. We envision a novel design of a tunable microfluidic device for precise flow control of organic or inorganic matter in LC medium that exploits the tunable backflow in LC dimer-doped N*LCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2327-2336
Number of pages10
JournalLiquid Crystals
Issue number14-15
Early online date12 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Backflow
  • liquid crystal dimers
  • optical bounce
  • polymer stabilisation
  • topological defects


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