Behavior of the layer compression elastic modulus near, above, and below a smectic C–hexatic I critical point in binary mixtures
Laboratoire de Dynamique des Fluides Complexes, UMR n° 7506, ULP-CNRS, Université Louis Pasteur 4, rue Blaise Pascal, 67070, Strasbourg Cedex, France
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Published online: 22 February 2005
We present the first study of the layer compression modulus B carried out near, above and below the Smectic C–Hexatic I critical point in racemic mixtures of methylbutyl phenyl octylbiphenyl-carboxylate (8SI) and the octyloxy biphenyl analog (8OSI), at frequencies ranging from 0.2 Hz to 2 ×103 Hz. The behavior of B as a function of temperature shows a progressive evolution from a first order transition in 8SI to a continuous supercritical behavior in 8OSI. The latter is characterized by an increase in B, which appears above the transition, and which is followed by a leveling off when the temperature is decreased towards the transition. It is proposed that this behavior stems from the relaxation of the hexatic domains which are frozen in the frequency range studied. For the supercritical and near-critical compounds, B exhibits a small dip near the transition temperature, which is visible in the low frequency range only, indicating that the dynamics associated with the critical point is very slow. We also report measurements in the Crystal-J phase of the pure compounds, and show that 8SI behaves mechanically as a hexatic phase and 8OSI as a soft crystal phase.
© EDP Sciences/Società Italiana di Fisica/Springer-Verlag, 2005