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Patterned Electroconvective States in a Bent-Core Nematic Liquid Crystal

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posted on 14.01.2010, 00:00 by Pramod Tadapatri, Uma S. Hiremath, C. V. Yelamaggad, K. S. Krishnamurthy
We report the results of investigations on the anisotropic electrohydrodynamic states arising in a highly conducting, planarly aligned, bent-core nematic liquid crystal driven by ac fields of frequency f in the range from 10 Hz to 1 MHz. Pattern morphologywise, two f regimes are distinguished. The low-f regime, wherein the primary bifurcation is to a state of periodic longitudinal stripes (LS), extends to an unprecedentedly large f, in the range 150−550 kHz, depending on the temperature T. This is followed by the high-f regime wherein periodic normal stripes (NS) constitute the primary instability. Both instabilities involve predominant director modulations and streamlines in the layer plane. The transitional frequency between the two regimes is linear in temperature. The curve Vc(f) shows a nonlinear increase for the LS state and decrease for the NS state. Vc(T) is an ever increasing curve close to the nematic−isotropic point for both states. The wavenumber of LS varies directly as V, and that of NS shows nearly the same behavior. The pattern period versus f is increasing for LS but decreasing for NS. Both instability states exhibit complex, light-polarization-dependent lens action. Well above the threshold, disclination loops of regular geometry appear along the stripes. They drift in a coordinated manner along the flow lines. At very high voltages, the instability turns strongly time dependent. The current models of anisotropic convection based on static electrical parameters fail to account for the observed instabilities.