The nature of the reentrant nematic phase has been actively investigated both experimentally and theoretically during the past few decades. Most studies concluded that, as concerning molecular dynamics, a reentrant nematic phase is essentially analogous to a conventional nematic one. Recent computer simulations [Mazza et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 227802 (2010)], however, predicted molecular translational self-diffusion along the phase director that was dominated by a collective transport mode and was, relative to that observed in a conventional nematic phase, enhanced by an order of magnitude. In the present work, the principal components of the diffusion tensor in a reentrant nematic phase are determined experimentally and compared to those in conventional nematic and smectic-A phases. We find that the temperature dependence of the translational diffusion in the two nematic phases, within experimental error, follows a uniform trend and can be adequately described in terms of available diffusion models in nematics. Hence, we find no evidence for enhanced diffusion but confirm instead the similarity of conventional and reentrant nematic phases with respect to molecular translational dynamics.
2012. Vol. 86, no 3, 031704- p.