Mimicking the behaviour of rigid rod molecules. Smectic H liquid crystals from amphiphilic quaternary ammonium salts
The effect of secondary hydrogen-bonding interactions on the crystalline and liquid crystalline phases of quaternary ammonium salts functionalised with a carboxylic group attached at the polar head through a decyl spacer of a homologous series of N-alkyl-N-carboxydecyl-N,N-dimethylammonium bromides was investigated by polarising optical microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry and X-ray diffraction. The low-temperature crystal phases were found to have a lamellar structure in which the ammonium bromide groups are arranged within the layers in two distinct planes, alternately separated by single layers of alkyl chains and double layers of carboxydecyl chains coupled through the carboxyl end groups. At higher temperatures, although these molecules were made from soft flexible chains, smectic H mesophases were identified. The smectic layers were found to be formed by the same two ionic planes alternately separated by the alkyl and carboxydecyl sub-layers. The smectic structure was compared with the three-dimensional positional order observed in the smectic T phase of dihydroxyl functionalised quaternary ammonium salts already described in the literature.
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