Atomic Force Microscopy of freely suspended liquid crystal films transferred to octadecyltriethoxysilane self-assembled monolayers
Thin freely suspended films of 4-(2-methylbutyl)phenyl 4'-octylbiphenyl-4-carboxylate (8SI) in the smectic C phase were transferred to self-assembled monolayer coated glass and imaged by atomic force microscopy. Upon rapid cooling to room temperature, the smectic C quenches into a lamellar phase, exhibiting islands and single smectic layer steps. The surface of such films can be imaged with molecular resolution, revealing a partially disordered lattice of fixed molecular positions. Over a period of several days these films undergo a transition to a crystal phase having a different film morphology.
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