The effects of dispersed aerosil nanoparticles on two of the phase transitions of the thermotropic liquid-crystal material 4-n-pentylphenylthiol-4(')-n-octyloxybenzoate ((8) over bar S5) have been studied using high-resolution x-ray diffraction techniques. The aerosils hydrogen bond together to form a gel which imposes a weak quenched disorder on the liquid crystal. The smectic-A fluctuations are well characterized by a two-component line shape representing thermal and random-field contributions. An elaboration on this line shape is required to describe the fluctuations in the smectic-C phase; specifically the effect of the tilt on the wave-vector dependence of the thermal fluctuations must be explicitly taken into account. Both the magnitude and the temperature dependence of the smectic-C tilt order parameter are observed to be unaffected by the disorder. This may be a consequence of the large bare smectic correlation length in the direction of modulation for this transition. These results show that the understanding developed for the nematic to smectic-A transition for octylcyanobiphenyl and octyloxycyanobiphenyl liquid crystals with quenched disorder can be extended to quite different materials and transitions.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear and Soft Matter Physics|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2003|