Drifting undulations in an achiral smectic C liquid crystal driven by a static electric field

K. S. Krishnamurthy, Pramoda Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We report a novel dc field-driven propagative instability associated with the thermally induced layer undulations of the smectic C phase in a phenyl benzoate. While the undulations are two-dimensional, the drift is observed only along the wave vector q parallel to the c director; undulations with orthogonal q and c remain stable. The drift, which is nonhysteretic, takes place in a hopping way between equilibrium positions; it has a well-defined threshold in a given region, but the threshold varies rather widely for different regions. The average propagation velocity increases linearly from zero with the control parameter ε until ε ≈ 2 but tends to saturate thereafter. Significantly, the drift direction reverses on switching the field polarity. The mechanism responsible for the drift appears to involve a coupling between the transverse field gradients due to the conductivity anisotropy and the transverse component of the flexoelectric polarization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2423-2426
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number10
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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