Publication Title

Physical Review E

Publication Date

9-2-2008

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1103/PhysRevE.78.031702

Keywords

banana-shaped mesogens, tetrahedratic phase, mesophase behavior, achiral molecules, membranes, systems

Disciplines

Physics

Abstract

Flexoelectricity is a unique property of liquid crystals; it is a linear coupling between electric polarizations and bend and/or splay distortions of the direction of average molecular orientation. Recently it was shown [J. Harden et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 97, 157802 (2006)] that the bend flexoelectric coefficient in bent-core nematic liquid crystals can be three orders of magnitude higher than the effect with calamitic (rod-shaped) molecular shape. Here we report the converse of the flexoelectric effect: An electric field applied across a bent-core liquid crystal sandwiched between thin flexible substrates produces a director distortion which is manifested as a polarity-dependent flexing of the substrates. The flex magnitude is shown to be consistent with predictions based upon both the measured value of the bend flexoelectric constant and the elastic properties of the substrates. Converse flexoelectricity makes possible a new class of microactuators with no internal moving parts, which offers applications as diverse as optical beam steering to artificial muscles.

Comments

Copyright 2008 American Physical Society. Available on publisher's site at http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.78.031702


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