Journal of Chemical Physics

A deuterium nuclear magnetic resonance investigation of the symmetry and orientational order of the nematic phase of 4-[3,4,5-tris(4-dodecyloxybenzyloxy)benzoyloxy]-4′-(4- dodecyloxybenzoyloxy)-1,1′-biphenyl. A biaxial nematic?

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The first compound for which the previously predicted biaxial nematic phase was claimed is 4-[3,4,5-tris(4-dodecyloxybenzyloxy)benzoyloxy]-4′-(4- dodecyloxybenzoyloxy)-1,1′-biphenyl (I). This assignment was based on the observation of the optical texture and the x-ray diffraction pattern. To confirm this identification of the biaxial nematic phase, we have studied the deuterium nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra of nonuniformly aligned samples with the deuterons located specifically in the mesogen itself or in the disklike solute, hexamethylbenzene-d18, dissolved in the mesogen. These experiments allow us to determine the biaxiality in the partially averaged quadrupolar tensor. For both systems, the biaxiality parameter is found to be zero within the experimental error which is estimated to be less than ±0.08 for the pure mesogen and ±0.06 for the solute. The orientational order parameters determined from the quadrupolar splitting change discontinuously at the nematic-isotropic transition thus confirming the first order character of the transition and in accord with the uniaxial symmetry of the nematic phase. The order parameters determined for the two groups of equivalent deuterons in the specifically deuteriated oxymethylene links allow us to comment on the conformations of these links. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.