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  1. The isotropic to ferroelectric nematic liquid transition was theoretically studied over one hundred years ago, but its experimental studies are rare. Here we present experimental results and theoretical considerations of novel electromechanical effects of ferroelectric nematic liquid crystal droplets coexisting with the isotropic melt. We find that the droplets have flat pancake-like shapes that are thinner than the sample thickness as long as there is room to increase the lateral droplet size. In the center of the droplets a wing-shaped defect with low birefringence is present that moves perpendicular to a weak in-plane electric field, and then extends and splits in two at higher fields. Parallel to the defect motion and extension, the entire droplet drifts along the electric field with a speed that is independent of the size of the droplet and is proportional to the amplitude of the electric field. After the field is increased above 1 mV μm −1 the entire droplet gets deformed and oscillates with the field. These observations led us to determine the polarization field and revealed the presence of a pair of positive and negative bound electric charges due to divergences of polarization around the defect volume. 
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  2. Abstract

    A multistep deposition technique is developed to produce highly oriented diamond films by hot filament chemical vapor deposition (HFCVD) on Si (111) substrates. The orientation is produced by use of a thin, 5–20 nm, Ni interlayer. Annealing studies demonstrate diffusion of Ni into Si to form nickel silicides with crystal structure depending on temperature. The HFCVD diamond film with Ni interlayer results in reduced non-diamond carbon, low surface roughness, high diamond crystal quality, and increased texturing relative to growth on bare silicon wafers. X-ray diffraction results show that the diamond film grown with 10 nm Ni interlayer yielded 92.5% of the diamond grains oriented along the (110) crystal planes with ~ 2.5 µm thickness and large average grain size ~ 1.45 µm based on scanning electron microscopy. Texture is also observed to develop for ~ 300 nm thick diamond films with ~ 89.0% of the grains oriented along the (110) crystal plane direction. These results are significantly better than diamond grown on Si (111) without Ni layer with the same HFCVD conditions. The oriented growth of diamond film on Ni interlayers is explained by a proposed model wherein the nano-diamond seeds becoming oriented relative to the β1-Ni3Si that forms during the diamond nucleation period. The model also explains the silicidation and diamond growth processes.

    Article Highlights

    High quality diamond film with minimum surface roughness and ~93% oriented grains along (110) crystallographic direction is grown on Si substrate using a thin 5 to 20 nm nickel layer.

    A detailed report on the formation of different phases of nickel silicide, its stability with different temperature, and its role for diamond film texturing at HFCVD growth condition is presented.

    A diamond growth model on Si substrate with Ni interlayer to grow high quality-oriented diamond film is established.

     
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  3. The effect of precursor stoichiometry is reported on morphology, phase purity, and texture formation of polycrystalline diamond films. The diamond films were deposited on 100-mm Si (100) substrates using hot filament chemical vapor deposition at substrate temperature 720–750 °C using a mixture of methane and hydrogen. The gas mixture was varied with methane concentrations 1.5% to 4.5%. Diamond film thickness and average grain size both increase with increasing methane concentration. Diamond quality was checked using surface and cross-section by ultraviolet micro-Raman spectroscopy. The data show consistent diamond properties across the surface of the film and along the cross-section. XRD pole figure analyses of the films show that 3.0% methane results in preferential orientation of diamond in the〈111〉direction, whereas films deposited with 4.5% methane showed texture along the〈220〉direction in addition to〈111〉which was tilted ~ 23° with respect to the surface normal. 
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  4. Although its mesomorphic properties have been studied for many years, only recently has the molecule of life begun to reveal the true range of its rich liquid crystalline behavior. End-to-end interactions between concentrated, ultrashort DNA duplexes—driving the self-assembly of aggregates that organize into liquid crystal phases—and the incorporation of flexible single-stranded “gaps” in otherwise fully paired duplexes—producing clear evidence of an elementary lamellar (smectic-A) phase in DNA solutions—are two exciting developments that have opened avenues for discovery. Here, we report on a wider investigation of the nature and temperature dependence of smectic ordering in concentrated solutions of various “gapped” DNA (GDNA) constructs. We examine symmetric GDNA constructs consisting of two 48-base pair duplex segments bridged by a single-stranded sequence of 2 to 20 thymine bases. Two distinct smectic layer structures are observed for DNA concentration in the range230to280mg/mL. One exhibits an interlayer periodicity comparable with two-duplex lengths (“bilayer” structure), and the other has a period similar to a single-duplex length (“monolayer” structure). The bilayer structure is observed for gap length ≳10 bases and melts into the cholesteric phase at a temperature between 30 °C and 35 °C. The monolayer structure predominates for gap length ≲10 bases and persists to>40°C. We discuss models for the two layer structures and mechanisms for their stability. We also report results for asymmetric gapped constructs and for constructs with terminal overhangs, which further support the model layer structures.

     
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  5. Abstract

    The recently discovered ferroelectric nematic (NF) liquid crystals (LCs) with over 0.04 C m−2ferroelectric polarization and 104relative dielectric constants, coupled with sub‐millisecond switching, offer potential applications in high‐power super capacitors and low voltage driven fast electro‐optical devices. This paper presents electrical, optical, and electro‐optical studies of a ferroelectric nematic LC material doped with commercially available chiral dopants. While theNFphase of the undoped LC is only monotropic, the chiralNFphase is enantiotropic, indicating a chirality induced stabilization of the polar nematic order. Compared to undopedNFmaterial, a remarkable improvement of the electro‐optical switching time is demonstrated in the chiral doped materials. The color of the chiral mixtures that exhibit a selective reflection of visible light in the chiralNFphase, can be reversibly tuned by 0.02–0.1 V µm−1 in‐plane electric fields, which are much smaller than typically required in full‐color cholesteric LC displays and do not require complicated driving scheme. The fast switchable reflection color at low fields has potential applications for LC displays without backlight, smart windows, shutters, and e‐papers.

     
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