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Critical exponents at a reentrant isotropic–calamitic nematic phase transition

Authors
Journal
Physics Letters A
0375-9601
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
333
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.physleta.2004.08.066
Keywords
  • Critical Exponent
  • Reentrant Isotropic Phase
  • Calamitic Nematic Phase

Abstract

Abstract The critical exponents of the reentrant isotropic (I RE)–calamitic nematic (N C) and the N C–isotropic (I) phase transitions found in a lyotropic mixture of potassium laurate, decanol, and water are experimentally determined. Using optical birefringence measurements, along the entire range of the nematic phase, it was found that while the usual high temperature N C–I phase transition presents the well-known discontinuity, typical of a first order phase transition, with a critical exponent in the same class of universality of the three-dimensional Ising model, within the interval ( 0.36 ± 0.05 ), the low temperature N C–I RE phase transition presents strong indications of a second order phase transition, with a critical exponent in the interval ( 0.16 ± 0.01 ). This experimental achievement indicates that the high temperature and the low temperature (reentrant) nematic–isotropic phase transitions do not belongs to the same universal class.

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