Growth of Focal Conic Domains in a Smectic A Liquid Crystal

K. Purdy, E. Bramley, S. Garg

The growth of focal conic domains in the smectic-A phase of liquid crystal CCN-47 due to an applied electric field was investigated at two different temperatures [Z. Li and O. Lavrentovich, Phys. Rev. Lett. 73, 280 (1994)]. The growth rate of the focal conic domains was measured and plotted as a function of the applied voltage. The initially stable domains are observed to change very slowly until at a threshold voltage a critical domain size is reached and it begins to nucleate. Once nucleated, the domain growth rate changes drastically. The growth patterns and dynamics in the pure liquid crystal are compared with those of the same material doped with kunipia-f nanoparticles. This research was performed at The College of Wooster and supported by NSF grant DMR 9619406.