Recent experiments on mixed liquid crystals have highlighted the hugely significant role of ferromagnetic nanoparticle impurities in defining the nematic-smectic-A phase transition point. Structured around a Flory-Huggins free energy of isotropic mixing and Landau-de Gennes free energy, this article presents a phenomenological mean-field model that quantifies the role of such impurities in analyzing thermodynamic phases, in a mixture of thermotropic smectic liquid crystal and ferromagnetic nanoparticles. First we discuss the impact of ferromagnetic nanoparticles on the isotropic-ferronematic and ferronematic-ferrosmectic phase transitions and their transition temperatures. This is followed by plotting and discussing various topologies in the phase diagrams. Our model results indicate that there exists a critical concentration of nanoparticle impurities for which the second order N-SmA transition becomes first order at a tricritical point. Calculations based on this model show remarkable agreement with experiment.
Bibliographical note© 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
- liquid crystals
- phase transition
Mukherjee, P. K., & Chattopadhyay, A. K. (2017). Effect of magnetic nanoparticles on the nematic-smectic-A phase transition. Journal of Molecular Liquids, 242, 612-617. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molliq.2017.07.056