Disorder by random crosslinking in smectic elastomers
Phys. Rev. Lett. , Volume 93 - Issue Article number: 185702 p. 1- 4
We present a high-resolution x-ray study of the effects of disorder due to random crosslinking on the one-dimensional translational ordering in smectic elastomers. At a small crosslink density of about 5%, the elastomer network stabilizes the smectic structure against layer-displacement fluctuations, and the algebraically decaying layer ordering extends up to several micrometers. With increasing concentration of crosslinks, the finite size of these domains is strongly reduced, indicating that disordering takes over. Finally, at a crosslink concentration of 20%, the structure factor can be described by a Lorentzian, which signals extended short-range correlations. The findings are discussed in terms of recent theories of randomly quenched disorder.