The recently discovered ferroelectric nematic (N-F) liquid-crystal phase exhibits a spontaneous polarization field that is both orientationally fluid like a liquid crystal and large in magnitude like a solid ferroelectric. This combination imparts this phase with a unique electrostatic phenomenology and response to applied fields. Here we probe this phase by applying a small electric field to ferroelectric nematics confined in microchannels that connect electrodes through straight and curved paths and find that the N-F phase smoothly orders with its polarization following the channels despite their winding paths. This implies a corresponding behaviour of the electric field. On inversion of the electric field, the polar order undergoes a multistage switching process dominated by electrostatic interactions. We also find multistage polarization switching dynamics in the numerical simulations of a quasi-two-dimensional continuum model of channel-confined N-F liquid crystals, enabling the exploration of their internal structural and electrical self-organization. This indicates that polarization alignment and electric-field guiding are direct consequences of fluid superscreening-the prompt elimination of electric-field components normal to the channel walls by polarization reorientation. This response mimics the behaviour expected for ultrahigh-permittivity dielectrics, but with patterns of charge accumulation and local ordering unique to fluid ferroelectrics.The ferroelectric uniaxial nematic liquid-crystal phase features a freely reorientable polarization field. When confined in microchannels and subjected to electric fields, this polarization is now found to align with the channels due to a superscreening effect.

Fluid superscreening and polarization following in confined ferroelectric nematics / F. Caimi, G. Nava, S. Fuschetto, L. Lucchetti, P. Paie, R. Osellame, X. Chen, N. Clark, M. Glaser, T. Bellini. - In: NATURE PHYSICS. - ISSN 1745-2473. - (2023), pp. 1-10. [Epub ahead of print] [10.1038/s41567-023-02150-z]

Fluid superscreening and polarization following in confined ferroelectric nematics

F. Caimi
Primo
;
G. Nava
Secondo
;
T. Bellini
Ultimo
2023

Abstract

The recently discovered ferroelectric nematic (N-F) liquid-crystal phase exhibits a spontaneous polarization field that is both orientationally fluid like a liquid crystal and large in magnitude like a solid ferroelectric. This combination imparts this phase with a unique electrostatic phenomenology and response to applied fields. Here we probe this phase by applying a small electric field to ferroelectric nematics confined in microchannels that connect electrodes through straight and curved paths and find that the N-F phase smoothly orders with its polarization following the channels despite their winding paths. This implies a corresponding behaviour of the electric field. On inversion of the electric field, the polar order undergoes a multistage switching process dominated by electrostatic interactions. We also find multistage polarization switching dynamics in the numerical simulations of a quasi-two-dimensional continuum model of channel-confined N-F liquid crystals, enabling the exploration of their internal structural and electrical self-organization. This indicates that polarization alignment and electric-field guiding are direct consequences of fluid superscreening-the prompt elimination of electric-field components normal to the channel walls by polarization reorientation. This response mimics the behaviour expected for ultrahigh-permittivity dielectrics, but with patterns of charge accumulation and local ordering unique to fluid ferroelectrics.The ferroelectric uniaxial nematic liquid-crystal phase features a freely reorientable polarization field. When confined in microchannels and subjected to electric fields, this polarization is now found to align with the channels due to a superscreening effect.
Settore FIS/07 - Fisica Applicata(Beni Culturali, Ambientali, Biol.e Medicin)
Settore FIS/03 - Fisica della Materia
   SOFT ADAPTIVE NETWORKS
   MINISTERO DELL'ISTRUZIONE E DEL MERITO
   2017Z55KCW_002
2023
27-lug-2023
Article (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/1001568
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