Theory of solvation in polar nematics

Vitaly Kapko, Dmitry Matyushov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We develop a linear response theory of solvation of ionic and dipolar solutes in anisotropic, axially symmetric polar solvents. The theory is applied to solvation in polar nematic liquid crystals. The formal theory constructs the solvation response function from projections of the solvent dipolar susceptibility on rotational invariants. These projections are obtained from Monte Carlo simulations of a fluid of dipolar spherocylinders which can exist both in the isotropic and nematic phases. Based on the properties of the solvent susceptibility from simulations and the formal solution, we have obtained a formula for the solvation free energy which incorporates the experimentally available properties of nematics and the length of correlation between the dipoles in the liquid crystal. The theory provides a quantitative framework for analyzing the steady-state and time-resolved optical spectra and makes several experimentally testable predictions. The equilibrium free energy of solvation, anisotropic in the nematic phase, is given by a quadratic function of cosine of the angle between the solute dipole and the solvent nematic director. The sign of solvation anisotropy is determined by the sign of dielectric anisotropy of the solvent: solvation anisotropy is negative in solvents with positive dielectric anisotropy and vice versa. The solvation free energy is discontinuous at the point of isotropic-nematic phase transition. The amplitude of this discontinuity is strongly affected by the size of the solute becoming less pronounced for larger solutes. The discontinuity itself and the magnitude of the splitting of the solvation free energy in the nematic phase are mostly affected by microscopic dipolar correlations in the nematic solvent. Illustrative calculations are presented for the equilibrium Stokes shift and the Stokes shift time correlation function of coumarin-153 in 4-n-pentyl-4′-cyanobiphenyl and 4,4-n-heptyl-cyanopiphenyl solvents as a function of temperature in both the nematic and isotropic phases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114904
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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