Anomalous viscoelasticity near the isotropic-nematic phase transition in liquid crystals

Jose, Prasanth P. ; Bagchi, Biman (2004) Anomalous viscoelasticity near the isotropic-nematic phase transition in liquid crystals Journal of Chemical Physics, 121 (14). pp. 6978-6985. ISSN 0021-9606

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Recent optical Kerr effect experiments have shown that orientational relaxation of nematogens shows a pronounced slow down of the response function at intermediate times and also a power law decay near the isotropic-nematic (I-N) transition. In many aspects, this behavior appears to be rather similar to the ones observed in the supercooled liquid near-glass transition [Cang et al., J. Chem. Phys. 118, 9303 (2003)]. We have performed molecular dynamics simulations of model nematogens (Gay-Berne with aspect ratio 3) to explore the viscoelasticity near the I-N transition and also investigated the correlation of viscoelasticity (if any) with orientational relaxation. It is found that although the viscosity indeed undergoes a somewhat sharper than normal change near the I-N transition, it is not characterized by any divergencelike behavior (like the ones observed in the supercooled liquid). The rotational friction, on the other hand, shows a much sharper rise as the I-N transition is approached. Interestingly, the probability distribution of the amplitude of the three components of the stress tensor shows anisotropy near the I-N transition-similar anisotropy has also been seen in the deeply supercooled liquid [Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 25504 (2002)]. Frequency dependence of viscosity shows several unusual behaviors: (a) There is a weak, power law dependence on frequency [η'(ω) ~ ω] at low frequencies and (b) there is a rapid increase in the sharp peak observed in η'(ω) in the intermediate frequency on approach to the I-N transition density. These features can be explained from the stress-stress time correlation function. The angular velocity correlation function also exhibits a power law decay in time. The reason for this is discussed.

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Source:Copyright of this article belongs to American Institute of Physics.
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Deposited On:13 Oct 2010 06:51
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