We present a neutron scattering analysis of the structure of the smectic liquid crystal octylcyanobiphenyl (8CB) confined in one-dimensional nanopores of porous silicon films (PS). The smectic transition is completely suppressed, leading to the extension of a short-range ordered smectic phase aligned along the pore axis. It evolves reversibly over an extended temperature range, down to 50 K below the N-SmA transition in pure 8CB. This behavior strongly differs from previous observations of smectics in different one-dimensional porous materials. A coherent picture of this striking behavior requires that quenched disorder effects are invoked. The strongly disordered nature of the inner surface of PS acts as random fields coupling to the smectic order. The one-dimensionality of PS nanochannels offers perspectives on quenched disorder effects, of which observation has been restricted to homogeneous random porous materials so far.
|Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
|Published - 2006 1月
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