References of "Lagerwall, Jan 50002154"
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See detailIsotropic–isotropic phase separation and spinodal decomposition in liquid crystal–solvent mixtures
Reyes, Catherine UL; Baller, Jörg UL; Araki, Takeaki et al

in Soft Matter (2019), 15

Phase separation in mixtures forming liquid crystal (LC) phases is an important yet under- appreciated phenomenon that can drastically influence the behaviour of a multi-component LC. Here we demonstrate ... [more ▼]

Phase separation in mixtures forming liquid crystal (LC) phases is an important yet under- appreciated phenomenon that can drastically influence the behaviour of a multi-component LC. Here we demonstrate, using polarising microscopy with active cooling as well as differential scanning calorimetry, that the phase diagram for mixtures of the LC-forming compound 4’-n- pentylbiphenyl-4-carbonitrile (5CB) with ethanol is surprisingly complex. Binary mixtures reveal a broad miscibility gap that leads to phase separation between two distinct isotropic phases via spinodal decomposition or nucleation and growth. On further cooling the nematic phase enters on the 5CB-rich side, adding to the complexity. Significantly, water contamination dramatically raises the temperature range of the miscibility gap, bringing up the critical temperature for spinodal de- composition from ∼ 2◦C for the anhydrous case to > 50◦C if just 3 vol.% water is added to the ethanol. We support the experiments with a theoretical treatment that qualitatively reproduces the phase diagrams as well as the transition dynamics, with and without water. Our study highlights the impact of phase separation in LC-forming mixtures, spanning from equilibrium coexistence of multiple liquid phases to non-equilibrium effects due to persistent spatial concentration gradients. [less ▲]

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See detailLiquid crystal elastomer shell actuators with negative order parameter
Jampani, Venkata UL; Reguengo De Sousa, Kevin; Ferreira Machado, Joana et al

in Science Advances (2019), 5(4), 1

Liquid crystals (LCs) are nonsolids with long-range orientational order, described by a scalar order parameter ⟨P2⟩=1/2⟨3cos2β−1⟩. Despite the vast set of existing LC materials, one-third of the order ... [more ▼]

Liquid crystals (LCs) are nonsolids with long-range orientational order, described by a scalar order parameter ⟨P2⟩=1/2⟨3cos2β−1⟩. Despite the vast set of existing LC materials, one-third of the order parameter value range, −1/2< 〈P2〉 < 0, has until now been inaccessible. Here, we present the first material with negative LC order parameter in its ground state, in the form of elastomeric shells. The optical and actuation characteristics are opposite to those of conventional LC elastomers (LCEs). This novel class of anti-ordered elastomers gives access to the previously secluded range of liquid crystallinity with 〈P2〉 < 0, providing new challenges for soft matter physics and adding a complementary type of LCE actuator that is attractive for applications in, e.g., soft robotics [less ▲]

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See detailMicrofluidic Wet Spinning of Core-Sheath Elastomer-Liquid Crystal Fibers
Honaker, Lawrence William UL; Vats, Shameek UL; Anyfantakis, Emmanouil UL et al

Scientific Conference (2019, March 29)

Liquid crystals encapsulated in fibers have a wide variety of applications in sensing. In order to produce these, several methods have been explored. Electrospinning is among the better-known techniques ... [more ▼]

Liquid crystals encapsulated in fibers have a wide variety of applications in sensing. In order to produce these, several methods have been explored. Electrospinning is among the better-known techniques with considerable successes. Only a limited range of polymers, though, has been used for electrospinning with liquid crystal cores, and the process of electrospinning has many obstacles to its utility at an industrial scale. On the other hand, wet-spinning techniques are better suited for industrial applications and are widely used in textile manufacturing, but are not commonly used for coaxial fiber production, especially with the large experimental scales that are difficult to replicate in a standard liquid crystal research laboratory. We therefore propose a method for wet-spinning coaxial core-sheath liquid crystal-filled elastomer fibers using a microfluidic set-up. Based on the flow-focusing method used for the production of liquid crystal shells and emulsions, this technique generates coaxial filaments by pumping a core-sheath flow of a liquid crystal surrounded by a rubbery polymer solution into a co-flowing coagulation bath. The coagulation bath is tuned to quickly extract the elastic polymer solution solvent, leaving behind a dry, continuous fiber. We have employed this method to produce fibers of polybutadiene and polyisoprene containing a core of a liquid crystal, such as 4-cyano-4'-pentylbiphenyl (5CB). Investigations into the choice of polymer solution, i.e. both the polymer and solvents used, will be presented in addition to discussion on parameters affecting the contiguity of the core. [less ▲]

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See detailSub-second dynamic phototuning of alignment in azodendrimer-doped nematic liquid crystal shells
Noh, Junghyun UL; Jampani, Venkata UL; Haba, Osamu et al

in Journal of Molecular Liquids (2018), 267

The alignment of nematic liquid crystal 5CB in micron-thick shells, suspended in and containing aqueous liquid phases, can be rapidly switched between radial (homeotropic) and tangential (planar) director ... [more ▼]

The alignment of nematic liquid crystal 5CB in micron-thick shells, suspended in and containing aqueous liquid phases, can be rapidly switched between radial (homeotropic) and tangential (planar) director field by doping them with a photoresponsive dendrimer with multiple azobenzene moieties in the branches. The dendrimer spontaneously segregates to the inner as well as outer shell interfaces, folding into an amphiphilic conformation irrespective of the sign of interface curvature. The branches are directed into the liquid crystal, inducing a homeotropic ground state. Upon UV irradiation, the trans-cis isomerization of azobenzene triggers immediate switching to planar alignment. The very fast realignment and the simultaneous response throughout the shell leads to an initially random planar director field, with many topological defects of both positive and negative signs becoming visible within a second of irradiation. All but two +1 defects quickly annihilate, and the remaining defect pair moves up towards the thinnest part of the shell to form the planar steady state. By illuminating with visible light the homeotropic alignment is quickly recovered. By exchanging the solvent used for assisting the dendrimer dissolution, also dynamic phase separation phenomena can be studied in the shells, revealing that the dendrimer solubility in 5CB is greater in the UV-induced cis state than in the trans ground state. [less ▲]

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See detailInfluence of head group and chain length of surfactants used for stabilising liquid crystal shells
Sharma, Anjali UL; Lagerwall, Jan UL

in Liquid Crystals (2018), 45(13-15), 2319-2328

We investigate the stability and textural development in nematic liquid crystal (LC) shells, with aqueous interior and exterior, as a function of the type and concentration of surfactant stabiliser of the ... [more ▼]

We investigate the stability and textural development in nematic liquid crystal (LC) shells, with aqueous interior and exterior, as a function of the type and concentration of surfactant stabiliser of the shell interfaces. The LC is the common thermotropic nematic 5CB and the surfactants are commercial, of cat- as well as of anionic type, with varying alkyl chain length. In addition to stabilising the shell interfaces, surfactants are generally assumed to promote radial (homeotropic) LC alignment, based on prior studies where the surfactant concentration was well above the critical micelle concentration (CMC). Here, we focus on the low-concentration range, below CMC. We find that both cat- and anionic surfactants can stabilise shells, although the higher water solubility of cationics can render stabilisation more difficult. We also conclude that surfactants do not necessarily impose homeotropic alignment; if the surfactant concentration is very low, the director may adopt planar alignment at the 5CB–water interface. Interestingly, the threshold concentration, where the surfactant takes control of alignment, is different for the shell inside and outside. Shells stabilised by solutions of surfactant with concentration near the threshold may therefore adopt a hybrid configuration, with homeotropic inside and planar outside. [less ▲]

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See detailMicrometer-Scale Porous Buckling Shell Actuators Based on Liquid Crystal Networks
Jampani, Venkata UL; Mulder, Dirk; Reguengo de Sousa, Kevin UL et al

in Advanced Functional Materials (2018), 28(31), 1801209

Micrometer‐scale liquid crystal network (LCN) actuators have potential for application areas like biomedical systems, soft robotics, and microfluidics. To fully harness their power, a diversification in ... [more ▼]

Micrometer‐scale liquid crystal network (LCN) actuators have potential for application areas like biomedical systems, soft robotics, and microfluidics. To fully harness their power, a diversification in production methods is called for, targeting unconventional shapes and complex actuation modes. Crucial for controlling LCN actuation is the combination of macroscopic shape and molecular‐scale alignment in the ground state, the latter becoming particularly challenging when the desired shape is more complex than a flat sheet. Here, one‐step processing of an LCN precursor material in a glass capillary microfluidic set‐up to mold it into thin shells is used, which are stretched by osmosis to reach a diameter of a few hundred micrometers and thickness on the order of a micrometer, before they are UV crosslinked into an LCN. The shells exhibit radial alignment of the director field and the surface is porous, with pore size that is tunable via the osmosis time. The LCN shells actuate reversibly upon heating and cooling. The decrease in order parameter upon heating induces a reduction in thickness and expansion of surface area of the shells that triggers continuous buckling in multiple locations. Such buckling porous shells are interesting as soft cargo carriers with capacity for autonomous cargo release. [less ▲]

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See detailFractionation of cellulose nanocrystals: enhancing liquid crystal ordering without promoting gelation
Honorato Rios, Camila UL; Lehr, Claudius Moritz UL; Schütz, Christina UL et al

in NPG asia materials (2018)

Colloids of electrically charged nanorods can spontaneously develop a fluid yet ordered liquid crystal phase, but this ordering competes with a tendency to form a gel of percolating rods. The threshold ... [more ▼]

Colloids of electrically charged nanorods can spontaneously develop a fluid yet ordered liquid crystal phase, but this ordering competes with a tendency to form a gel of percolating rods. The threshold for ordering is reduced by increasing the rod aspect ratio, but the percolation threshold is also reduced with this change; hence, prediction of the outcome is nontrivial. Here, we show that by establishing the phase behavior of suspensions of cellulose nanocrystals(CNCs) fractionated according to length, an increased aspect ratio can strongly favor liquid crystallinity without necessarily influencing gelation. Gelation is instead triggered by increasing the counterion concentration until theCNCs lose colloidal stability, triggering linear aggregation, which promotes percolation regardless of the original rod aspect ratio. Our results shine new light on the competition between liquid crystal formation and gelation in nanoparticle suspensions and provide a path for enhanced control of CNC self-organization for applications in photonic crystal paper or advanced composites. [less ▲]

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See detailCholesteric Liquid Crystal Shells as Enabling Material for Information-Rich Design and Architecture.
Schwartz, Mathew; Lenzini, Gabriele UL; Geng, Yong UL et al

in Advanced Materials (2018)

The responsive and dynamic character of liquid crystals (LCs), arising from their ability to self-organize into long-range ordered structures while maintaining fluidity, has given them a role as key ... [more ▼]

The responsive and dynamic character of liquid crystals (LCs), arising from their ability to self-organize into long-range ordered structures while maintaining fluidity, has given them a role as key enabling materials in the information technology that surrounds us today. Ongoing research hints at future LC-based technologies of entirely different types, for instance by taking advantage of the peculiar behavior of cholesteric liquid crystals (CLCs) subject to curvature. Spherical shells of CLC reflect light omnidirectionally with specific polarization and wavelength, tunable from the UV to the infrared (IR) range, with complex patterns arising when many of them are brought together. Here, these properties are analyzed and explained, and future application opportunities from an inter- disciplinary standpoint are discussed. By incorporating arrangements of CLC shells in smart facades or vehicle coatings, or in objects of high value subject to counterfeiting, game-changing future uses might arise in fields spanning infor- mation security, design, and architecture. The focus here is on the challenges of a digitized and information-rich future society where humans increasingly rely on technology and share their space with autonomous vehicles, drones, and robots. [less ▲]

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See detailElectrospun Composite Liquid Crystal Elastomer Fibers
Sharma, Anshul UL; Lagerwall, Jan UL

in Materials (2018), 11(3), 393

We present a robust method to prepare thin oriented nematic liquid crystalline elastomer-polymer (LCE-polymer) core-sheath fibers. An electrospinning setup is utilized to spin a single solution of photo ... [more ▼]

We present a robust method to prepare thin oriented nematic liquid crystalline elastomer-polymer (LCE-polymer) core-sheath fibers. An electrospinning setup is utilized to spin a single solution of photo-crosslinkable low molecular weight reactive mesogens and a support polymer to form the coaxial LCE-polymer fibers, where the support polymer forms the sheath via in situ phase separation as the solvent evaporates. We discuss the effect of phase separation and compare two different sheath polymers (polyvinylpyrrolidone and polylactic acid), investigating optical and morphological properties of obtained fibers, as well as the shape changes upon heating. The current fibers show only irreversible contraction, the relaxation most likely being hindered by the presence of the passive sheath polymer, increasing in stiffness on cooling. If the sheath polymer can be removed while keeping the LCE core intact, we expect LCE fibers produced in this way to have potential to be used as actuators, for instance in soft robotics and responsive textiles. [less ▲]

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See detailAdvancing flexible volatile compound sensors using liquid crystals encapsulated in polymer fibers
Reyes, Catherine UL; Lagerwall, Jan UL

in Proceedings of SPIE : The International Society for Optical Engineering (2018, February 08), 10555(105550O),

Until recently, organic vapor sensors using liquid crystals (LCs) have employed rigid glass substrates for confining the LC, and bulky equipment for vapor detection. Previously, we demonstrated that ... [more ▼]

Until recently, organic vapor sensors using liquid crystals (LCs) have employed rigid glass substrates for confining the LC, and bulky equipment for vapor detection. Previously, we demonstrated that coaxially electrospinning nematic LC within the core of polymer fibers provides an alternative and improved form factor for confinement. This enables ppm level sensitivity to harmful industrial organics, such as toluene, while giving the flexibility of textile-like sheets (imparted by polymer encapsulation). Moreover, toluene vapor responses of the [less ▲]

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See detailMicrofluidic Tensiometry Technique for the Characterization of the Interfacial Tension between Immiscible Liquids.
Honaker, Lawrence William UL; Lagerwall, Jan UL; Jampani, Venkata UL

in Langmuir (2018)

The interfacial tension between two immiscible fluids is of critical importance for understanding many natural phenomena as well as in industrial production processes; however, it can be challenging to ... [more ▼]

The interfacial tension between two immiscible fluids is of critical importance for understanding many natural phenomena as well as in industrial production processes; however, it can be challenging to measure this parameter with high accuracy. Most commonly used techniques have significant shortcomings because of their reliance on other data such as density or viscosity. To overcome these issues, we devise a technique that works with very small sample quantities and does not require any data about either fluid, based on micropipette aspiration techniques. The method facilitates the generation of a droplet of one fluid inside of the other, followed by immediate in situ aspiration of the droplet into a constricted channel. A modified Young-Laplace equation is then used to relate the pressure needed to produce a given deformation of the droplet's radius to the interfacial tension. We demonstrate this technique on different systems with interfacial tensions ranging from sub-millinewton per meter to several hundred millinewton per meter, thus over 4 orders of magnitude, obtaining precise results in agreement with the literature solely from experimental observations of the droplet deformation. [less ▲]

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See detailThrough the Spherical Looking-Glass: Asymmetry Enables Multicolored Internal Reflection in Cholesteric Liquid Crystal Shells
Geng, Yong UL; Jang, Ju-Hyun; Noh, Kyung-Gyu et al

in Advanced Optical Materials (2017), 6(1), 1700923

Spheres of cholesteric liquid crystal generate dynamic patterns due to selec- tive reflection from a helical structure subject to continuously curved bounda- ries. So far the patterns are investigated ... [more ▼]

Spheres of cholesteric liquid crystal generate dynamic patterns due to selec- tive reflection from a helical structure subject to continuously curved bounda- ries. So far the patterns are investigated exclusively as function of reflections at the sphere exterior. Here it is shown that the cholesteric shells in a microfluidics produced double emulsion enable also a sequence of internal reflections if the shells have sufficiently thin top and thick bottom. While such asymmetry is promoted by buoyancy when the internal droplet has lower density than the liquid crystal, the elasticity of the cholesteric helix prefers a symmetric shell geometry, acting against gravity. This subtle balance can hide the internal reflections for long time. Eventually, however, the asymmetry is established, revealing a new class of photonic patterns characterized by colored sharp concentric rings. With the complete knowledge of the diverse light-reflecting behavior of cholesteric liquid crystal shells, and utilizing the tunability of the structure period by, e.g., temperature, electric field, or expo- sure to various chemical species as well as polymer stabilization for making the shells long-term stable, they may be developed into remarkable new optical elements for photonics, sensing, or security pattern generation. [less ▲]

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See detailElucidating the fine details of cholesteric liquid crystal shell reflection patterns
Geng, Yong; Noh, Junghyun UL; Drevensek-Olenik, Irena et al

in Liquid Crystals (2017), 44(12-13),

Clusters of planar-aligned short-pitch cholesteric liquid crystal spheres generate dynamic colourful patterns due to multiple selective reflections from the radially oriented cholesteric helices in ... [more ▼]

Clusters of planar-aligned short-pitch cholesteric liquid crystal spheres generate dynamic colourful patterns due to multiple selective reflections from the radially oriented cholesteric helices in neighbour shells at varying distances. These photonic communication patterns were widely investigated for the cases of both droplets and shells, demonstrating not only intriguing optical phenomena but also potential for applications as new optical elements for photonics, sensing or security pattern generation. However, the optics of these clusters is truly complex and until now only the strongest and most fundamental reflections have been analysed and explained. In this report, we elucidate the origin of a number of more subtle reflections and we explain the extension in space of various spots as well as their internal colour variations. [less ▲]

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See detailSecurity in the Shell : An Optical Physical Unclonable Function made of Shells of Cholesteric Liquid Crystals
Lenzini, Gabriele UL; Samir, Ouchani; Roenne, Peter UL et al

in Proc. of the 9th IEEE Workshop on Information Forensics and Security (2017, October 02)

We describe the application in security of shells of Cholesteric Liquid Crystals (ChLCs). Such shells have a diameter in the microns range and can be gathered in hundreds in a surface area as small as a ... [more ▼]

We describe the application in security of shells of Cholesteric Liquid Crystals (ChLCs). Such shells have a diameter in the microns range and can be gathered in hundreds in a surface area as small as a nail’s head. Because of their structural properties, a bundle of them reflects light, creating colorful patterns that we argue to be unique and computationally hard to predict. We argue also that the bundle itself is unclonable. These are typical properties of Physically Unclonable Functions, a family to which shells of ChLCs belong too. Herein we discuss their physical and security properties and their potential use in object authentication. [less ▲]

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See detailWhy organically functionalized nanoparticles increase the electrical conductivity of nematic liquid crystal dispersions
Urbanski, Martin; Lagerwall, Jan UL

in Journal of Materials Chemistry C (2017), 5(34), 8802-8809

Doping liquid crystals with gold nanoparticles increases the conductivity by up to three orders of magnitude, an increase even stronger than expected for equimolar amounts of organic electrolytes. Despite ... [more ▼]

Doping liquid crystals with gold nanoparticles increases the conductivity by up to three orders of magnitude, an increase even stronger than expected for equimolar amounts of organic electrolytes. Despite recent high activity in the field of liquid crystalline nanocomposites, the origin of this increase has rarely been addressed and is not well understood. In this dielectric spectroscopy study we discuss the origin of the increased conductivity and identify its source. We demonstrate that the hydrodynamic radius of the mobile charge carrier species in nanoparticle dispersions is significantly smaller than the 3–5 nm gold core, which rules out the particles themselves to be the source of conductivity. Likewise, also the ligand molecules from the organic capping layer do not themselves add to the conductivity of the dispersions, but affect the electrical properties by acting as a trap for ionic impurities. We suggest that the partial release of these impurities upon interactions of the ligand shell with the uniaxial nematic host phase is the most likely source for the increased conductivity. Our study opens a new perspective on synthesis strategies for functionalized nanoparticles and will help to overcome the current issues preventing high-performing liquid crystal nanodispersions. [less ▲]

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See detailLiquid crystals in micron-scale droplets, shells and fibers
Urbanski, Martin UL; Reyes, Catherine UL; Noh, Junghyun UL et al

in Journal of Physics : Condensed Matter (2017), 29

The extraordinary responsiveness and large diversity of self-assembled structures of liquid crystals are well documented and they have been extensively used in devices like displays. For long, this ... [more ▼]

The extraordinary responsiveness and large diversity of self-assembled structures of liquid crystals are well documented and they have been extensively used in devices like displays. For long, this application route strongly influenced academic research, which frequently focused on the performance of liquid crystals in display-like geometries, typically between flat, rigid substrates of glass or similar solids. Today a new trend is clearly visible, where liquid crystals confined within curved, often soft and flexible, interfaces are in focus. Innovation in microfluidic technology has opened for high-throughput production of liquid crystal droplets or shells with exquisite monodispersity, and modern characterization methods allow detailed analysis of complex director arrangements. The introduction of electrospinning in liquid crystal research has enabled encapsulation in optically transparent polymeric cylinders with very small radius, allowing studies of confinement effects that were not easily accessible before. It also opened the prospect of functionalizing textile fibers with liquid crystals in the core, triggering activities that target wearable devices with true textile form factor for seamless integration in clothing. Together, these developments have brought issues center stage that might previously have been considered esoteric, like the interaction of topological defects on spherical surfaces, saddle-splay curvature-induced spontaneous chiral symmetry breaking, or the non-trivial shape changes of curved liquid crystal elastomers with non-uniform director fields that undergo a phase transition to an isotropic state. The new research thrusts are motivated equally by the intriguing soft matter physics showcased by liquid crystals in these unconventional geometries, and by the many novel application opportunities that arise when we can reproducibly manufacture these systems on a commercial scale. This review attempts to summarize the current understanding of liquid crystals in spherical and cylindrical geometry, the state of the art of producing such samples, as well as the perspectives for innovative applications that have been put forward. [less ▲]

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See detailTaming Liquid Crystal Self-Assembly: The Multifaceted Response of Nematic and Smectic Shells to Polymerization.
Noh, Junghyun UL; henx, Benjamin; Lagerwall, Jan UL

in Advanced Materials (2016)

By photopolymerizing liquid crystal shells, their rich variety of self-assembled structures can be rendered permanent and the lifetime extended from days to months, without removing the characteristic ... [more ▼]

By photopolymerizing liquid crystal shells, their rich variety of self-assembled structures can be rendered permanent and the lifetime extended from days to months, without removing the characteristic responsiveness. If polymerization is carried out close to either boundary of the nematic phase, the process triggers the transition into the adjacent phase, to higher or to lower degree of order. [less ▲]

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See detailCorrelation between structural properties and iridescent colors of cellulose nanocrystalline films
Licen, M. V.; Majaron, B.; Noh, Junghyun UL et al

in Cellulose (2016)

We investigate the effect of shear flow applied during the drying of aqueous suspension of cellulose nanocrystals on optical reflective properties and structural characteristics of the resulting ... [more ▼]

We investigate the effect of shear flow applied during the drying of aqueous suspension of cellulose nanocrystals on optical reflective properties and structural characteristics of the resulting solidified films. Shear flow can significantly improve internal structural homogeneity of the films, while its effect on optical reflective properties is relatively minor. The measured width of the selective reflection peak is an order of magnitude larger than expected for an ideal helically modulated structure, which reflects a distribution of pitch values and possibly also of regimes of distorted helical modulation. We attribute these imperfections to the broad size distribution of the cellulose nanocrystals. [less ▲]

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See detailEnhancing Self-Assembly in Cellulose Nanocrystal Suspensions Using High-Permittivity Solvents
Bruckner, Johanna; Kuhnhold, Anja UL; Honorato Rios, Camila UL et al

in Langmuir (2016)

Helical liquid crystal self-assembly in suspensions of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs), bioderived nanorods exhibiting excellent mechanical and optical properties, opens attractive routes to sustainable ... [more ▼]

Helical liquid crystal self-assembly in suspensions of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs), bioderived nanorods exhibiting excellent mechanical and optical properties, opens attractive routes to sustainable production of advanced functional materials. For convenience, in most studies until now, the CNCs were suspended in water, leaving a knowledge gap concerning the influence of the solvent. Using a novel approach for aggregation-free solvent exchange in CNC suspensions, here we show that protic solvents with a high dielectric permittivity εr significantly speed up self-assembly (from days to hours) at high CNC mass fraction and reduce the concentration dependence of the helix period (variation reducing from more than 30 μm to less than 1 μm). Moreover, our computer simulations indicate that the degree of order at constant CNC content increases with increasing εr, leading to a shorter pitch and a reduced threshold for liquid crystallinity. In low-εr solvents, the onset of long-range orientational order is coupled to kinetic arrest, preventing the formation of a helical superstructure. Our results show that the choice of solvent is a powerful parameter for tuning the behavior of CNC suspensions, enhancing our ability to control the self-assembly and thereby harvesting valuable novel cellulose-based materials. [less ▲]

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See detailNon-electronic gas sensors from electrospun mats of liquid crystal core fibers for detecting volatile organic compounds at room temperature
Reyes, Catherine UL; Sharma, Anshul UL; Lagerwall, Jan UL

in Liquid Crystals (2016)

Non-woven mats comprised of liquid crystal-functionalised fibres are coaxially electrospun to create soft gas sensors that function non-electronically, thus requiring no power supply, detect- ing organic ... [more ▼]

Non-woven mats comprised of liquid crystal-functionalised fibres are coaxially electrospun to create soft gas sensors that function non-electronically, thus requiring no power supply, detect- ing organic vapours at room temperature. The fibres consist of a poly(vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP) sheath surrounding a core of nematic 4-cyano-4ʹpentylbiphenyl (5CB) liquid crystal. Several types of mats, containing uniformly cylindrical or irregular beaded fibres, in uniform or random orientations, are exposed to toluene vapour as a representative volatile organic compound. Between crossed polarisers all mats respond with a fast (response time on the order of a second or faster) reduction in brightness during gas exposure, and they return to the original state upon removal of the gas almost as quickly. With beaded fibres, the response of the mats is visible even without polarisers. We discuss how variations in fibre spinning conditions such as humidity level and the ratio of core-sheath fluid flow rates can be used to tune fibre morphology and thereby the response. Considering future development perspectives, we argue that fibres turned respon- sive through the incorporation of a liquid crystal core show promise as a new generation of sensors with textile form factor, ideal for wearable technology applications. [less ▲]

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