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The synthesis and properties of achiral and chiral bent-core liquid crystals

Fergusson, Kenneth Matthew


Kenneth Matthew Fergusson


Michael Hird


The area of liquid crystals has received substantial research effort over the last century, particularly when the beneficial applications such as Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) were realised and developed. For the majority of this time, it has been considered that a linear molecular shape is required in order to generate a mesomorphic phase. It was therefore of particular interest and excitement when, in 1996, it was shown that a 'banana-shaped' molecular architecture could exhibit a new class of liquid crystalline phase. Additionally it was found that these new mesophases exhibited chiral domains, leading to electrooptical switching properties, despite the constituent molecules being achiral. Unsurprisingly, these observations have led to a vast frontier of research in the area of 'banana-shaped' and 'bentcore' systems over the past decade and many interesting properties relating to such systems have been reported.

The work contained within this thesis investigates two areas of bent-core liquid crystals. Firstly, the introduction of fluoro-substituents to the bent-core of an achiral banana-shaped system has been assessed, in terms of both position, and number of substituents. The resultant mesomorphic properties of these compounds have shown that there is a very delicate boundary between banana, and 'conventional' mesomorphism, relating to subtle changes in molecular structure. Appropriately positioned fluoro-substituents upon the bent-core generate a more linear conformation, facilitating the generation of nematic phases. Possible reasoning for this observation has been discussed.

Secondly, the effect of introducing a bent-core to a conventional calamitic structure, and the addition of fluoro-substituents, has been examined. Whilst a variation of this nature to the majority of calamitic molecular structures would have a severely detrimental effect upon the resultant mesophase morphology, it has been shown that this is not always the case and indeed the addition of fluoro-substituents is shown to enhance the mesomorphic stability of the smectic A phase.


Fergusson, K. M. (2008). The synthesis and properties of achiral and chiral bent-core liquid crystals. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Sep 21, 2012
Publicly Available Date Feb 22, 2023
Keywords Chemistry
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Chemistry, The University of Hull
Award Date Jan 1, 2008


Thesis (16.4 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2008 Fergusson, Kenneth Matthew. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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