Symmetries and allignement of biaxial nematic liquid crystals.

P.K. Karahaliou, A.G. Vanakaras and D.J. Photinos, J. Chem. Phys., 131, 124516 (2009).

Abstract: The possible symmetries of the biaxial nematic phase are examined against the implications of the presently available experimental results. Contrary to the widespread notion that biaxial nematics have orthorhombic symmetry, our study shows that a monoclinic C2h symmetry is more likely to be the case for the recently observed phase biaxiality in thermotropic bent-core and calamitc tetrapode nematic systems. The methodology for differentiating between the possible symmetries of the biaxial nematic phase by NMR and by IR spectroscopy measurements is presented in detail. The manifestations of the different symmetries on the alignment of the biaxial phase are identified and their implications on the measurement and quantification of biaxiality as well as on the potential use of biaxial nematic liquid crystals in electro-optic applications are discussed. ©2009 American Institute of Physics

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