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Keywords:

  • arenes;
  • mesogens;
  • nematic phase;
  • liquid crystals;
  • X-ray diffraction

Abstract

The theoretically predicted optimum length/breadth/width ratio for maximizing shape biaxiality was investigated experimentally by the facile and successful synthesis of cross-shaped compound 3, which showed enantiomeric nematic phase behavior. This cross-like core structure could alternatively be viewed as two fused V-shaped mesogens, which have recently immerged as a new direction in biaxial nematic research, at the bending tips that can act as a new structure for biaxial investigations. Whilst the thermal analysis data of compound 3 did not meet the expected theoretical values for biaxial nematics, surface-induced biaxiality was evidenced by optical studies. Cluster-size analysis within the nematic phase of compound 3 revealed the formation of meta-cybotactic nematics, which approached the cluster sizes of cybotactic nematics. The split small-angle 2D X-ray diffraction patterns of magnetic-field-aligned samples indicated that the nematic phase was composed of small smectic C-like clusters with the tilting of molecules within the clusters. The wide-temperature-range enantiomeric nematic phase of cross-like compound 3 enabled the molecular skeleton to serve as an alternative skeleton to bent-rod mesogens, which exhibited nematic phases with the potential competition of transitions to higher-order liquid-crystalline phases and crystallization, for future biaxial investigations.