It's been a century. The new liquid crystal phase is finally proven.

2020-06-15

More than 100 years ago, scientists proposed a new liquid crystal phase - ferroelectric nematic liquid crystal phase, but despite a century of search, this material phase has not been confirmed. The phase of matter has never been confirmed. Now, in an article in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S. scientists say they have finally discovered and confirmed the matter phase, the latest discovery promises to spawn a host of new materials.

The latest discoveries are the culmination of years of research and breakthroughs, and in the 1910s, Nobel laureates Peter Debay and Max Born For the first time, it was proposed that the molecules of liquid crystals would spontaneously fall into a polarity-ordered state if they were designed correctly. Shortly thereafter, researchers began to discover solid crystals with similar behavior: their molecules point in the same direction, and applying an electric field will Change their orientation. These solid crystals are called "ferroelectrics" because of their resemblance to magnets.

In the decades since, scientists have been trying to find liquid crystal phases with the same behavior, but they have never been found. That is, until researchers began to study RM734.

RM734 is an organic molecule produced by British scientists a few years ago, when the British team reported that RM734 exhibits a regular phase of vectorial liquid crystals at higher temperatures and another anomalous phase at lower temperatures.

Since the 1970s, centrifugal liquid crystals have been a hot topic in materials research. These materials exhibit a mixture of liquid-like and solid-like behavior, which allows them to control light, and have been widely used to Manufacturing liquid crystal displays (LCDs).

In a ferroelectric, nematic liquid crystal phase, the molecules all point in the same direction - right or left, which means these materials have a polar ordering.

Led by Noel Clark, director of the Soft Materials Research Center (SMRC) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the research team This anomalous relative electric field response of the RM734 has been found to be 100 to 100 times more responsive than that of an ordinary anisotropic liquid crystal after a number of tests. 1,000 times, indicating that the molecules that make up the liquid crystal exhibit a strong polar order: "This confirms that it is indeed a ferroelectric vector liquid crystal."

Study leader Noel Clark, director of the SMRC, said that the discovery of such liquid crystals could lead to a host of technological innovations, such as from the new Displays to new types of computer memory and more. "In addition, this work also suggests that there are other ferroelectric fluids lurking around us, and technologies such as artificial intelligence may be able to search them out Out." (Reporter Liu Xia)


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