J. Phys. II France 5, 397 (1995)

Periodic Pattern Formation in Side-Group Polymer Nematic Solutions at the Twist Frederiks Transition

E. E. Pashkovsky*, W. Stille and G. Strobl

*Institute of Macromolecular Compounds, Academy of Sciences of Russia, Bolshoi pr. 31, St. Petersburg, 199004, Russia

Fakultät für Physik, Universität Freiburg, Hermann-Herder-Str. 3, 79104 Freiburg, Germany


Periodic pattern formation at the Frederiks transition in the magnetic field has been studied for dilute solutions of a polymethacrylate with mesogenic side groups in a nematic solvent, pentylcyanobiphenyl (5CB). For this purpose, a combination of dielectric measurements and direct pattern observations was used to determine the twist elastic constant K2, the rotational viscosity γ1, and the wavelength of the periodic distortion λ. For polymer concentrations 0 ≤ w ≤ 1 % the values of λ were found to follow a power law λ ∼ (B - Bc) with β ≈ 1/2, where Bc is the critical field for formation of periodic patterns. A strong effect of the polymer molecules on Bc has been observed, due to the contribution of the macromolecules to the shear Miesowicz viscosity coefficient ηa being large compared to the effect on γ1. In a simple phenomenological model, which is constructed analogous to the Landau theory for second order phase transitions, and uses an expansion of the growth rate of the patterns in powers of the wavenumber k = 2π / λ, we describe correctly the observed power law.