Nonphotochemical laser-induced nucleation of nematic phase and alignment of nematic director from a supercooled thermotropic liquid crystal

Xiaoying Sun, Bruce A. Garetz, Michele F. Moreira, Peter Palffy-Muhoray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A nonphotochemical laser-induced phase transition was studied in a supercooled 4′ n -pentyl-4-cyanobiphenyl (5CB, also referred to as PCB and K15) liquid crystal, using linearly polarized 45 ps light pulses at a wavelength of 532 nm. The laser induced nucleation from the metastable supercooled isotropic phase to the nematic phase during slow cooling (0.001 °C min) and high light intensity (3.9 MW cm2). The resulting nematic director tended to be aligned along the direction of the plane of polarization of the light. At the intensities used, there is no observable laser-induced realignment of the director once the sample is in the nematic phase, nor any permanent laser-induced ordering when the sample is illuminated only in the stable isotropic phase during slow cooling. These experimental results are consistent with a mechanism based on optical Kerr alignment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021701
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Volume79
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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