Cubic and tetragonal liquid crystal phases composed of non-chiral molecules: Chirality and macroscopic properties

  • Helmut R. Brand
  • Harald PleinerEmail author
Open Access
Regular Article


We discuss the symmetry properties as well as the macroscopic behavior of the cubic liquid crystal phases showing large chiral domains of either hand in some non-chiral compounds reported recently in the group of Tschierske. These phases are tricontinuous. While they have O or I432 symmetry in each chiral domain, the overall symmetry is \( I m \bar{3} m\) as there is no net chirality for compounds composed of non-chiral molecules. It turns out that a rather similar type of phase has also been reported for triblock copolymers. Here we analyze in detail the macroscopic static and dynamic behavior of such phases and we predict, among other results, that they show the analog of static and dissipative Lehmann-type effects in their chiral domains. A description of a cubic liquid crystalline phase of Th symmetry, which has not yet been found experimentally, is also included. Suggestions for experiments are outlined to identify such a phase. In addition, we discuss tetragonal liquid crystalline phases of D4h and D4 (I422) symmetry as they have been reported last year experimentally in connection to the Q phase.

Graphical abstract


Soft Matter: Liquid crystals 



Open Access funding provided by Max Planck Society.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  2. 2.Max-Planck-Institute for Polymer ResearchMainzGermany

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