Synthesis and Deformation of Smectic-A Liquid Crystals

Sara D. Connolly

Synthesis of a compound exhibiting smectic A liquid crystal properties was completed. This synthesis exposes one to many aspects of organic chemistry. Similar compounds have been synthesized and used in binary smectic A liquid crystal mixtures, the eventual hope for the compound made for this study. The final product was found to have a liquid crystalline phase at 48.2°C. Both the focal conic domains and the fan structure that the compound began to show at this temperature when observed under polarized microscopy noted the phase. These observations were then confirmed with differential scanning calorimetry. In a second part to this study, the focal conic domain growth of the smectic A liquid crystal CCN-47 was studied. Nevertheless, the growth, as one will find, did not occur from the domain itself. Rather, growth was seen occurring from the edge of the ITO lining within the cell that the liquid crystal was being viewed from. This problem was attempted to be corrected using a homemade cell with an ITO lining which spans the entire surface of the cell. Nevertheless, this attempt was again not successful. In order to connect the two studies, the CCN-47 was the compound originally intended to be used as the second component for the binary liquid crystal mixture mentioned above. The synthesis as well as the focal conic domain study allow one to study very similar materials in two different scientific disciplines-chemistry and physics.