We have previously demonstrated that the incorporation of lateral methyl groups on oxadiazole-based liquid crystals leads to relatively low-temperature cybotactic nematic phases which, in some cases, supercool to room temperature. We report here the synthesis and phase behaviour of related compounds that possess lateral halogen groups and in some cases, lateral methyl groups as well. Derivatives with three lateral substituents (one halogen and two methyl groups) in a specific pattern supercool in the nematic phase to room temperature. As was the case with the previously reported trimethylated derivatives, the low-temperature nematic phase is glassy in nature. Two of the new trisubstituted derivatives (with bromo and chloro groups) remain in the nematic phase upon subsequent heating until transitioning to the isotropic phase indicating that the low-temperature nematic phase may be more stable than that shown by the trimethylated analogue. Preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis confirms the presence of a tilted cybotactic nematic phase. In addition, the splitting observed in the wide-angle scattering feature is indicative of enhanced local biaxial packing.
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