Tilt Order Parameters, Polarity and Inversion Phenomena in Smectic Liquid Crystals

Tilt Order Parameters, Polarity and Inversion Phenomena in Smectic Liquid Crystals
P. K. Karahaliou, A. G. Vanakaras and D.J. Photinos, Phys. Rev. E, 65, 031712 (2002).

Abstract: The order parameters for the phenomenological description of the smectic-A to smectic-C phase transition are formulated on the basis of molecular symmetry and structure. It is shown that, unless the long molecular axis is an axis of twofold or higher rotational symmetry, the ordering of the molecules in the smectic-C phase gives rise to more than one tilt order parameter and to one or more polar order parameters. The latter describe the indigenous polarity of the smectic-C phase, which is not related to molecular chirality but underlies the appearance of spontaneous polarization in chiral smectics. A phenomenological theory of the phase transition is formulated by means of a Landau expansion in two tilt order parameters (primary and secondary) and an indigenous polarity order parameter. The coupling among these order parameters determines the possibility of sign inversions in the temperature dependence of the spontaneous polarization and of the helical pitch observed experimentally for some chiral smectic-C* materials. The molecular interpretation of the inversion phenomena is examined in the light of this formulation.


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