Considerable progress has been achieved in understanding the fascinating structure and physical properties of the ferroelectric liquid crystalline phases formed by bent-core liquid crystals (BLC). In this review, we discuss a manifold of polar structures and phases found in BLCs such as orthogonal and tilted ferro-/antiferroelectric phases, smectic phases, switchable columnar phases, modulated structures and phases stabilised by a periodic lattice of defects such as dark conglomerate and nanofilament phases. We review the theoretical aspects of ferroelectricity in BLCs including existing microscopic theories and computer simulations, polarity and chirality phenomena. The last part of the paper is devoted to the peculiarities of the behavior of BLCs in a restricted geometry (freely suspended films and filament) and the perspective technological applications.
Statistical Mechanics of Bend Flexoelectricity and the Twist-Bend Phase in Bent-Core Liquid Crystals05/24/2013
We develop a Landau theory for bend flexoelectricity in liquid crystals of bent-core molecules. In the nematic phase of the model, the bend flexoelectric coefficient increases as we reduce the temperature toward the nematic to polar phase transition. At this critical point, there is a second-order transition from high-temperature uniform nematic phase to low-temperature nonuniform polar phase composed of twist-bend or splay-bend deformations. To test the predictions of Landau theory, we perform Monte Carlo simulations to find the director and polarization configurations as functions of temperature, applied electric field, and interaction parameters.