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See detailMorphology and Core Continuity of Liquid-crystal-functionalized, Coaxially Electrospun Fiber Mats Tuned Via the Polymer Sheath Solution
Scalia, Giusy; Enz, Eva; Calò, Oronzo et al

in Macromolecular Materials and Engineering (2013), 298(5), 583-589

By electrospinning liquid crystals coaxially inside a polymer sheath, responsive fibers with application potential, e.g., in wearable sensors can be produced. We conduct a combined scanning electron ... [more ▼]

By electrospinning liquid crystals coaxially inside a polymer sheath, responsive fibers with application potential, e.g., in wearable sensors can be produced. We conduct a combined scanning electron/polarizing microscopy study of such fibers, concluding that a match between the properties of the sheath solution and that of the core fluid is vital for achieving well-formed and well-filled fibers. Problems that may otherwise arise are fibers that are continuously filled, but partially collapsed; or fibers in which the core breaks up into droplets due to a mismatch in elongational viscosity between inner and outer fluids. [less ▲]

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See detailLiquid Crystals in Novel Geometries prepared by Microfluidics and Electrospinning
Liang, Hsin-Ling; Enz, Eva; Scalia, Giusy et al

in Molecular Crystals & Liquid Crystals (2011), 549

We describe two new techniques of preparing liquid crystal samples and discuss their potential for novel research and applications. Very thin polymer composite fibers func- tionalized by a liquid ... [more ▼]

We describe two new techniques of preparing liquid crystal samples and discuss their potential for novel research and applications. Very thin polymer composite fibers func- tionalized by a liquid crystalline core are realized by coaxial electrospinning of a polymer solution surrounding the liquid crystal during the spinning process. The re- sulting fiber mats exhibit the special properties and responsiveness of the liquid crystal core, e.g. temperature dependent selective reflection when a short-pitch cholesteric is encapsulated. In the second approach an axisymmetric nested capillary microfluidics set-up is used to prepare liquid crystalline shells suspended in an aqueous continuous phase. The spherical geometry of the shell imposes specific defect configurations, the exact result depending on the prevailing liquid crystal phase, the director anchoring conditions at the inner and outer surfaces, and the homogeneity of the shell thickness. With planar director anchoring a variety of defect configurations are possible but for topological reasons the defects must always sum up to a total defect strength of s = +2. Homeotropic anchoring instead gives a defect-free shell, in contrast to a droplet with homeotropic boundary conditions, which must have a defect at its core. By varying the inner and outer fluids as well as the liquid crystal material and temperature, the defect configuration can be tuned in a way that makes the shells interesting e.g. as a versatile colloid crystal building block. [less ▲]

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See detailElectrospun Microfibres With Temperature Sensitive Iridescence From Encapsulated Cholesteric Liquid Crystal
Enz, Eva; Lagerwall, Jan UL

in Journal of Materials Chemistry (2010), 20(33), 6866-6872

We apply coaxial electrospinning to produce core-sheath polymer composite fibres with encapsulated short-pitch cholesteric liquid crystal, giving the fibres iridescent colours due to selective reflection ... [more ▼]

We apply coaxial electrospinning to produce core-sheath polymer composite fibres with encapsulated short-pitch cholesteric liquid crystal, giving the fibres iridescent colours due to selective reflection within a narrow band of the visible wavelength spectrum. By modifying the feed rate of the liquid crystal during spinning we can tune the fibre diameter from the sub-micron range to about 7 mm, other ranges being accessible via further modifications of the spinning parameters. We demonstrate that the thinnest fibres display quantised colours, determined primarily by the core diameter, whereas the thicker fibres allow a quasi-continuous change in colour if the cholesteric helix pitch changes. Because of the strong response function of liquid crystals, phases as well as structures changing in response to small changes in the environment, the resulting non-woven fibre mats have potential for smart textiles, in particular in sensing applications. [less ▲]

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See detailOn the balance between syn- and anticlinicity in smectic phases formed by achiral hockey-stick mesogens with and without chiral dopants
Enz, Eva; Findeisen-Tandel, Sonja; Dabrowski, Roman et al

in Journal of Materials Chemistry (2009), 19(19), 2950-2957

A series of achiral hockey-stick-shaped mesogens forming tilted smectic liquid crystal phases of synclinic SmC- as well as anticlinic SmCa-type was prepared and characterized. While all homologues exhibit ... [more ▼]

A series of achiral hockey-stick-shaped mesogens forming tilted smectic liquid crystal phases of synclinic SmC- as well as anticlinic SmCa-type was prepared and characterized. While all homologues exhibit both phases, the balance shifts from anticlinic to synclinic order upon elongation of the terminal chain at the meta-position, defining the hockey-stick shape. The elongation also leads to an increased kinetic hindrance of the transition between syn- and anticlinic phases and a decreased transition enthalpy. These observations indicate that a well-defined kink (short meta-substituted chain) promotes the anticlinic structure while a higher flexibility between kinked and rod-shape (long meta-substituted chain) promotes synclinic order. An intermediate chain-length homologue was selected as host material for doping with syn- and anticlinic rod-shaped chiral dopants, respectively, at varying concentrations. Opposite of what might be expected the balance between syn- and anticlinic order was not simply dictated by the choice of dopant. Instead, both types of tilting order prevailed with roughly the same strength as in the achiral host regardless of which chiral material was added, up to concentrations well beyond normal doping conditions. Thus, at least with hockey-stick-shaped achiral hosts, syn- as well as anticlinic chiral compounds can be used effectively as chiral dopants without necessarily having an important impact on the clinicity of the resulting mixture. The hockey-stick design concept should be useful in producing achiral anticlinic-forming mesogens for low-polarization, long-pitch antiferroelectric liquid crystal mixtures. Finally, we point out that a mixture study like the one carried out here yields a conclusive means of establishing the clinicity of achiral tilted smectics, an endeavour that can sometimes be far from trivial. [less ▲]

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See detailCoaxial Electrospinning of Liquid Crystal-containing Poly(vinyl Pyrrolidone) Microfibers
Enz, Eva; Baumeister, Ute; Lagerwall, Jan UL

in Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry (2009), 5(58), 103762558

With the relatively new technique of coaxial electrospinning, composite fibres of poly(vinylpyrrolidone) with the liquid crystal 4-cyano-4′-octylbiphenyl in its smectic phase as core material could be ... [more ▼]

With the relatively new technique of coaxial electrospinning, composite fibres of poly(vinylpyrrolidone) with the liquid crystal 4-cyano-4′-octylbiphenyl in its smectic phase as core material could be produced. The encapsulation leads to remarkable confine- ment effects on the liquid crystal, inducing changes in its phase sequence. We conducted a series of experiments to determine the effect of varying the relative flow rates of inner and outer fluid as well as of the applied voltage during electrospinning on these composite fibres. From X-ray diffraction patterns of oriented fibres we could also establish the orientation of the liquid crystal molecules to be parallel to the fibre axis, a result unexpected when considering the viscosity anisotropy of the liquid crystal kept in its smectic phase during electrospinning. [less ▲]

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See detailMacroscopic-scale carbon nanotube alignment via self-assembly in lyotropic liquid crystals
Schymura, Stefan; Enz, Eva; Roth, Siegmar et al

in Synthetic Metals (2009), 159(21-22), 2177-2179

By dispersing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in a lyotropic liquid crystalline matrix, uniaxial alignment of the nanotubes can easily be achieved over macroscopic areas. We briefly describe the principles behind ... [more ▼]

By dispersing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in a lyotropic liquid crystalline matrix, uniaxial alignment of the nanotubes can easily be achieved over macroscopic areas. We briefly describe the principles behind the technique and then show that it can be applied to multiwall as well as single-wall nanotubes and that a variety of different dispersing materials can be used, from industrial surfactants to DNA. We also present a new microfluidics-based method for transferring the liquid crystal-dispersed CNTs to a substrate, maintaining a fair control of tube direction. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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