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Towards Nematic Phases in Ionic Liquid Crystals – A Simulation Study

Von Wiley-VCH zur Verfügung gestellt

Ionic liqud crystals (ILCs) are soft matter materials with broad liquid crystalline phases and intrinsic electric conductivity. They typically consist of a rod-shaped mesogenic ion and a smaller spherical counter-ion. Their mesomorphic properties can be easily tuned by exchanging the counter ion. ILCs show a strong tendency to form smectic A phases due to the segregation of ionic and the non- ionic molecular segments. Nematic phases are therefore extremely rare in ILCs and the question of why nematic phases are so exceptional in existing ILCs, and how nematic ILCs might be obtained in the future is of vital interest for both the fundamental understanding and the potential applications of ILCs. We here present the result of a simulation study, which highlights the crucial role of where the ionic charge is located on the rod-like mesogenic ions in the phase behaviour of ILCs. We find that shifting the charge from the ends towards the centre of the mesogenic ion destabilizes the liquid crystalline state and induces a change from smectic A to nematic phases.

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