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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2009, 10(11), 4754-4771; doi:10.3390/ijms10114754

Time-Resolved Soft X-ray Diffraction Reveals Transient Structural Distortions of Ternary Liquid Crystals

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Am Fassberg 11, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Laser-Laboratorium Göttingen e. V., Hans-Adolf-Krebs-Weg 1, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 September 2009 / Revised: 24 October 2009 / Accepted: 2 November 2009 / Published: 4 November 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Crystals)
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Home-based soft X-ray time-resolved scattering experiments with nanosecond time resolution (10 ns) and nanometer spatial resolution were carried out at a table top soft X-ray plasma source (2.2–5.2 nm). The investigated system was the lyotropic liquid crystal C16E7/paraffin/glycerol/formamide/IR 5. Usually, major changes in physical, chemical, and/or optical properties of the sample occur as a result of structural changes and shrinking morphology. Here, these effects occur as a consequence of the energy absorption in the sample upon optical laser excitation in the IR regime. The liquid crystal shows changes in the structural response within few hundred nanoseconds showing a time decay of 182 ns. A decrease of the Bragg peak diffracted intensity of 30% and a coherent macroscopic movement of the Bragg reflection are found as a response to the optical pump. The Bragg reflection movement is established to be isotropic and diffusion controlled (1 μs). Structural processes are analyzed in the Patterson analysis framework of the time-varying diffraction peaks revealing that the inter-lamellar distance increases by 2.7 Å resulting in an elongation of the coherently expanding lamella crystallite. The present studies emphasize the possibility of applying TR-SXRD techniques for studying the mechanical dynamics of nanosystems.
Keywords: liquid crystal; soft X-rays; time resolved X-ray scattering liquid crystal; soft X-rays; time resolved X-ray scattering

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Quevedo, W.; Peth, C.; Busse, G.; Scholz, M.; Mann, K.; Techert, S. Time-Resolved Soft X-ray Diffraction Reveals Transient Structural Distortions of Ternary Liquid Crystals. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2009, 10, 4754-4771.

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