# Transient Electro-Optic Kerr Effect in Liquid Crystalline Isothiocyanates

15 Jun 1999-Journal of the Physical Society of Japan (Physical Society of Japan)-Vol. 68, Iss: 6, pp 1939-1942

Abstract: Measurements are reported for the first time on the D.C. Kerr response and the pre-transitional behaviour of two liquid crystalline isothiocyanates 4-(4 ′ -n-pentyl phenyl)-phenyl isothiocyanate (5NCS) and 4-(4 ′ -n-heptyl phenyl)-phenyl isothiocyanate (7NCS) at temperatures above the smectic-isotropic transition temperatures. The Kerr law has been verified and the real part of the third order nonlinear susceptibilities (χ (3) ) above the smectic-isotropic transition are determined for the two liquid crystalline isothiocyanates from the electro-optic Kerr effect (EOKE) experiments. The variation of susceptibility with temperature has also been studied. The results have been compared with the cyanobiphenyls which have been widely studied and are known for their giant optical non-linearities.

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Topics: Kerr effect (59%), Liquid crystal (50%)

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TL;DR: The isotropic-nematic phase transition in liquid crystals is described in the context of the slowing of orientational relaxation associated with divergent growth of the orientational correlation length, and the correlation length of the density fluctuations is diverging with the same temperature dependence as the pseudonematic domain correlation length.

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Abstract: The isotropic phase of nematogenic liquid crystals has nanometer length scale domains with pseudonematic ordering. As the isotropic to nematic phase transition temperature (TNI) is approached from above, the orientational correlation length, ξ, of the pseudonematic domains grows as (T - T(*))(-1/2), where T(*) is 0.5-1 K below TNI. The orientational relaxation, which is a collective property of the pseudonematic domains, was measured with optical heterodyne detected-optical Kerr effect (OHD-OKE). The orientational relaxation obeys Landau-de Gennes theory, as has been shown previously. To examine the environmental evolution experienced by molecules in the pseudonematic domains, two-dimensional infrared (2D IR) vibrational echo experiments on the CN stretching mode of the non-perturbative vibrational probes 4-pentyl-4(')-selenocyanobiphenyl (5SeCB) and 4-pentyl-4(')-thiocyanobiphenyl (5SCB) in the nematogen 4-cyano-4(')-pentylbiphenyl (5CB) were performed. The 2D IR experiments measure spectral diffusion, which is caused by structural fluctuations that couple to the CN vibrational frequency. Temperature dependent studies were performed just above TNI, where the correlation length of pseudonematic domains is large and changing rapidly with temperature. These studies were compared to 2D IR experiments on 4-pentylbiphenyl (5B), a non-mesogenic liquid that is very similar in structure to 5CB. The time constants of spectral diffusion in 5CB and 5B are practically identical at temperatures ≥5 K above TNI. As the temperature is lowered, spectral diffusion in 5B slows gradually. However, the time constants for spectral diffusion in 5CB slow dramatically and diverge as T(*) is approached. This divergence has temperature dependence proportional to (T - T(*))(-1/2), precisely the same as seen for the correlation length of pseudonematic domains, but different from the observed orientational relaxation times, which are given by the Landau-de Gennes theory. The data and previous results show that spectral diffusion in 5CB has no contributions from orientational relaxation, and the structural dynamics responsible for the spectral diffusion are likely a result of density fluctuations. The results suggest that the correlation length of the density fluctuations is diverging with the same temperature dependence as the pseudonematic domain correlation length, ξ. The isotropic-nematic phase transition in liquid crystals is described in the context of the slowing of orientational relaxation associated with divergent growth of the orientational correlation length. The results presented here show that there is another divergent dynamical process, likely associated with density fluctuations.

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Abstract: The present review represents an attempt towards a unified picture of the direct transition from the isotropic to smectic-A phase. The isotropic to smectic-A phase transition is described in detail, including structure and nature revealed by experiments, molecular models and Landau-de Gennes theory. The wide variety of phenomena including effects of nonmesogenic impurities and electric field, hydrodynamics, fluctuations, and elastic theory of liquid crystalline elastomers is discussed. A brief review on the general information about the isotropic to lamellar phase transition in lyotropic liquid crystals has been given. The various predictions are compared with the available experimental results. Open questions and possible approaches to finding answers are discussed.

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19 citations

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M. Christian Schlick

^{1}, Nadia Kapernaum^{1}, Manuel M. Neidhardt^{1}, Tobias Wöhrle^{1}+3 more•Institutions (1)TL;DR: It is shown that maximum Kerr constants in the order of several 10-11 m V-2 make ionic liquid crystals attractive as new class of functional materials in low-speed Kerr effect applications.

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Abstract: The electro-optic Kerr effect in simple dipolar fluids such as nitrobenzene has been widely applied in electro-optical phase modulators and light shutters. In 2005, the discovery of the large Kerr effect in liquid-crystalline blue phases (Y. Hisakado et al., Adv. Mater. 2005, 17, 96-98.) gave new directions to the search for advanced Kerr effect materials. Even though the Kerr effect is present in all transparent and optically isotropic media, it is well known that the effect can be anomalously large in complex fluids, namely in the isotropic phase of liquid crystals or in polyelectrolyte solutions. Herein, it is shown that the Kerr effect in the isotropic phase of ionic liquid crystals combines the effective counterion polarization mechanism found in polyelectrolytes and the unique pretransitional growth of the Kerr constant found in the isotropic phase of nematic liquid crystals. Maximum Kerr constants in the order of several 10-11 m V-2 (ten times higher than the Kerr constant of the toxic nitrobenzene and less temperature sensitive than Kerr constants of nematic liquid crystals) make ionic liquid crystals attractive as new class of functional materials in low-speed Kerr effect applications.

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11 citations

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Abstract: Nematogen liquids in the isotropic phase are macroscopically homogeneous but on multinanometer length scales have pseudonematic domains with correlation lengths that grow as the isotropic to nematic phase transition temperature (TNI) is approached from above. Orientational relaxation of nematogens in the isotropic phase manifests as two fast power laws and a slow exponential decay when measured by optical heterodyne detected optical Kerr effect (OHD-OKE) experiments. The long time exponential relaxation is associated with complete randomization of pseudonematic domains. We examine the effect of local orientational correlation on spectral diffusion (structural evolution) experienced by a vibrational probe molecule within the pseudonematic domains of 4-cyano-4′-pentylbiphenyl (5CB) using two-dimensional infrared (2D IR) vibrational echo spectroscopy. The addition of low concentration 4-pentyl-4′-thiocyanobiphenyl (5SCB) as a long-lived vibrational probe to 5CB is shown to lower TNI of the sample slightly, but the fast power law dynamics and exponential decays observed by OHD-OKE spectroscopy are unchanged. We compare the complete orientational relaxation and spectral diffusion for samples of 5SCB in 5CB to 5SCB in 4-pentylbiphenyl (5B) at four temperatures above TNI. 5B has a molecular structure similar to 5CB but is not a nematogen. At all but the lowest temperature, the spectral diffusion in 5CB and 5B is described well as a triexponential decay with very similar time constants. The results demonstrate that the presence of local orientational order at temperatures well above TNI does not affect the spectral diffusion (structural evolution) within pseudonematic domains when the correlation lengths are short. However, when the temperature of the sample is held very close to TNI, the spectral diffusion in 5CB slows dramatically while that in 5B does not. It is only as the correlation length becomes very long that its presence impacts the spectral diffusion (structural fluctuations) sensed by the vibrational probes located in pseudonematic domains. The orientational relaxation is modeled with schematic mode coupling theory (MCT). Fitting with MCT provides density and orientational correlation functions. The density correlation decays are similar for 5B and 5CB, but the orientational correlation decays are much slower for 5CB. Additionally, the time dependence of the spectral diffusion in 5CB is strikingly similar to that of the density correlation function decay, while the orientational correlation function decay is far too slow to contribute to the spectral diffusion. Therefore, density fluctuations are likely the source of spectral diffusion at temperatures at least 5 K above TNI.

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10 citations

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TL;DR: The results demonstrate that the presence of local orientational order at temperatures well above TNI does not affect the spectral diffusion (structural evolution) within pseudonematic domains when the correlation lengths are short, and density fluctuations are likely the source of spectral diffusion at temperatures at least 5 Kabove TNI.

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Abstract: Nematogen liquids in the isotropic phase are macroscopically homogeneous but on multinanometer length scales have pseudonematic domains with correlation lengths that grow as the isotropic to nematic phase transition temperature (TNI) is approached from above. Orientational relaxation of nematogens in the isotropic phase manifests as two fast power laws and a slow exponential decay when measured by optical heterodyne detected optical Kerr effect (OHD-OKE) experiments. The long time exponential relaxation is associated with complete randomization of pseudonematic domains. We examine the effect of local orientational correlation on spectral diffusion (structural evolution) experienced by a vibrational probe molecule within the pseudonematic domains of 4-cyano-4'-pentylbiphenyl (5CB) using two-dimensional infrared (2D IR) vibrational echo spectroscopy. The addition of low concentration 4-pentyl-4'-thiocyanobiphenyl (5SCB) as a long-lived vibrational probe to 5CB is shown to lower TNI of the sample slightly, but the fast power law dynamics and exponential decays observed by OHD-OKE spectroscopy are unchanged. We compare the complete orientational relaxation and spectral diffusion for samples of 5SCB in 5CB to 5SCB in 4-pentylbiphenyl (5B) at four temperatures above TNI. 5B has a molecular structure similar to 5CB but is not a nematogen. At all but the lowest temperature, the spectral diffusion in 5CB and 5B is described well as a triexponential decay with very similar time constants. The results demonstrate that the presence of local orientational order at temperatures well above TNI does not affect the spectral diffusion (structural evolution) within pseudonematic domains when the correlation lengths are short. However, when the temperature of the sample is held very close to TNI, the spectral diffusion in 5CB slows dramatically while that in 5B does not. It is only as the correlation length becomes very long that its presence impacts the spectral diffusion (structural fluctuations) sensed by the vibrational probes located in pseudonematic domains. The orientational relaxation is modeled with schematic mode coupling theory (MCT). Fitting with MCT provides density and orientational correlation functions. The density correlation decays are similar for 5B and 5CB, but the orientational correlation decays are much slower for 5CB. Additionally, the time dependence of the spectral diffusion in 5CB is strikingly similar to that of the density correlation function decay, while the orientational correlation function decay is far too slow to contribute to the spectral diffusion. Therefore, density fluctuations are likely the source of spectral diffusion at temperatures at least 5 K above TNI.

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9 citations

##### References

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Abstract: The physical mechanisms which can produce second-order dielectric polarization are discussed on the basis of a simple extension of the theory of dispersion in ionic crystals. Four distinct mechanisms are described, three of which are related to the anharmonicity, second-order moment, and Raman scattering of the lattice. These mechanisms are strongly frequency dependent, since they involve ionic motions with resonant frequencies lower than the light frequency. The other mechanism is related to electronic processes of higher frequency than the light, and, therefore, is essentially flat in the range of the frequencies of optical masers. Since this range lies an order of magnitude higher than the ionic resonances, the fourth mechanism may be the dominant one. On the other hand, a consideration of the linear electro-optic effect shows that the lattice is strongly involved in this effect, and, therefore, may be very much less linear than the electrons. It is shown that the question of the mechanism involved in the second harmonic generation of light from strong laser beams may be settled by experiments which test the symmetry of the effect. The electronic mechanism is subject to further symmetry requirements beyond those for piezoelectric coefficients. In many cases, this would greatly reduce the number of independent constants describing the effect. In particular, for quartz and KDP there would be a single constant.

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1,829 citations

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Abstract: A detailed survey is given of the present-day knowledge of optical compensators. The compensators discussed are those of Babinet, Soleil, Rayleigh, De Forest Palmer, Brace, Szivessy, Senarmont, and Richartz. Each instrument is described, the theory developed, the method of use for the measurement of small phase differences given, and reference made to the sensitivity and accuracy.

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156 citations

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Abstract: We have measured the optical Kerr effect and the intensity-dependent ellipse rotation in order to study the pretransitional behavior of field-induced molecular alignment in the isotropic nematic substances $p$-methoxy-benzylidene $p\ensuremath{-}n$-butylaniline (MBBA) and $p$-ethoxy-benzylidene-$p$-butylaniline (EBBA). The results agree well with predictions of the Landau---de Gennes model. Both the order-parameter relaxation time and the steady-state field-induced birefringence show critical divergence towards the isotropic \ensuremath{\rightarrow} nematic transition with a ${(T\ensuremath{-}{T}^{*})}^{\ensuremath{-}1}$ temperature dependence. In the case of MBBA, our results are also consistent with the results from light scattering, but the method we use is perhaps more straightforward and accurate. The nonlinear refractive indices and other relevant parameters of the materials are derived from the experiment.

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Abstract: The pretransitional behaviour of a homologous series of mesomorphic compounds, the alkyl cyanobiphenyls (CNρρC n H 2n + 1) for n = 5–12, has been studied as a function of temperature by light scattering in the isotropic phase. The higher homologues, n = 8–12, exhibit a smectic A phase that becomes increasingly important at the expense of the nematic phase for increasing n and for n = 10 and 12 no nematic phase is observed. We have shown from light scattering and differential scanning calorimetry measurements that the presence of the smectic A phase changes markedly the pretransitional behaviour, and gives rise to two distinct pretransitional regions. The first region is for temperatures greater than ∼3°C above the clearing temperature Tc where the systems exhibit a typical pretransitional behaviour adequately described by the phenomenological Landau-de Gennes model of a second order phase transition with an intervering first order transition at Tc . The constants of this model for this region are...

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63 citations