Ferroelectricity in low-symmetry biaxial nematic liquid crystals

M.A. Osipov, M.V. Gorkunov

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Order parameters and phenomenological theory for both high- and low-symmetry biaxial nematic phases are presented and it is predicted that the chiral low-symmetry biaxial phase must be ferroelectric. This conclusion is based on general symmetry arguments and on the results of the Landau-de Gennes theory. The microscopic mechanism of the ferroelectric ordering in this chiral biaxial phase is illustrated using a simple molecular model based on dispersion interactions between biaxial molecules of low symmetry. Similar to the chiral smectic C* phase, the ferroelectricity in the chiral biaxial nematic phase is improper, i.e., polarization is not a primary order parameter and is not determined by dipolar interactions. Ferroelectric ordering in biaxial nematics may be found, in principle, in materials composed of chiral analogues of the tetrapod molecules which are known to exhibit biaxial phases.
Original languageEnglish
Article number031703
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Issue number36
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2010


  • ferroelectric ordering
  • liquid crystals
  • biaxial nematic phases


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