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A stochastic principle behind polar properties of condensed molecular matter

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2013
Author Hulliger Jürg, Wüst Thomas, Brahimi Khadidja, Burgener Matthias, Aboulfadl Hanane,
Project Fundamentale Wachstumsinstabilität für Kristalle welche einer uniaxialen polaren Punktgruppe angehören
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal New Journal of Chemistry
Volume (Issue) 37(8)
Page(s) 2229 - 2235
Title of proceedings New Journal of Chemistry
DOI 10.1039/c3nj40935j


A statistical mechanics view leads to the conclusion that polar molecules allowed to populate a degree of freedom for orientational disorder in a condensed phase thermalize into a bi-polar state featuring zero net polarity. In cases of orientational disorder polar order of condensed molecular matter can only exist in corresponding sectors of opposite average polarities. Channel type inclusion compounds, single component molecular crystals, solid solutions, optically anomalous crystals, inorganic ionic crystals, biomimetic crystals and biological tissues investigated by scanning pyroelectric and phase sensitive second harmonic generation microscopy all showed domains of opposite polarities in their final grown state. For reported polar molecular crystal structures it is assumed that kinetic hindrance along one direction of the polar axis is preventing the formation of a bi-polar state, thus allowing for a kinetically controlled mono-domain state. In this review we summarize theoretical and experimental findings leading to far reaching conclusions on the polar state of solid molecular matter. "... no stationary state ... of a system has an electrical dipole moment." P. W. Anderson, Science, 1972, 177, 393. © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.