Here, we report the observation of ferroelectric nematic and ferrielectric smectic mesophases in an achiral bent-core azo compound consisting of nonsymmetrical molecules with a lateral fluoro substitution on one of the wings. These mesophases are enantiotropic in nature with fairly low transition temperatures and wide mesophase ranges. The liquid crystalline properties of this compound are investigated using polarizing optical microscope, differential scanning calorimeter, X-ray diffraction, and electro-optical studies. As revealed by X-ray diffraction measurements, the nematic mesophase is composed of skewed cybotactic clusters and, in the smectic mesophase, the molecules are tilted with respect to the layer normal. The polar order in these mesophases was confirmed by the electro-optical switching and dielectric spectroscopy measurements. The dielectric study in the nematic mesophase shows a single relaxation process at low frequency (f < 1 kHz) measured in the range 10 Hz to 5 MHz, which is attributed to the collective motion of the molecules within cybotactic clusters. The formation of local polar order in these clusters leads to a ferroelectric-like polar switching in the nematic mesophase. Of particular interest is the fact that the smectic phase exhibits a field induced ferrielectric state, which can be exploited for designing of the potential optical devices due to multistate switching.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry