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See detailUtilizing the Krafft phenomenon to generate ideal micelle-free surfactant-stabilized nanoparticle suspensions
Dölle, Sarah; Lechner, Bob-Dan; Park, Ji Hyun et al

in Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2012), 51(13), 3254-3257

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See detailEffects of chain branching and chirality on liquid crystalline phases of bent-core molecules: blue phases, de Vries transitions and switching of diastereomeric states
Ocak, Hale; Bilgin-Eran, Belkiz; Prehm, Marko et al

in Soft Matter (2011), 7(18), 8266-8280

Bent-core molecules based on a resorcinol bisbenzoate core with a series of distinct substituents in different positions at the central resorcinol core have been synthesized and characterized. The focus ... [more ▼]

Bent-core molecules based on a resorcinol bisbenzoate core with a series of distinct substituents in different positions at the central resorcinol core have been synthesized and characterized. The focus is on the effect of branched terminal groups in the racemic and chiral forms on the mesomorphic properties. These were investigated by differential scanning calorimetry, optical polarizing microscopy, X-ray diffraction, electro-optic and dielectric methods. Only bent-core mesogens derived from 4- cyanoresorcinol exhibit liquid crystalline phases and the mesophases of these compounds are strongly influenced by the branching and enantiomeric composition of the terminal chains. Depending on the structure of the rod-like wings and the enantiomeric composition, cybotactic nematic phases (NcybC), BPIII-like isotropic mesophases (BPIIIcybC*) and various polar and apolar smectic phases (SmA, SmC, SmC*, SmCsPA, SmCsPA*) are formed. For one compound, a de Vries type smectic phase is observed and it appears that with decreasing temperature, order develops in two steps. First, at the SmA to SmC transition, the tilt direction becomes long range ordered and in a second step a long range ordering in bend direction takes place. Hence, for the optically active compound a transition from chirality induced polar switching to bend induced (shape induced) antiferroelectricity takes place. In this SmCsPA* phase a homogeneous layer chirality is induced under an applied electric field which interacts with the fixed molecular chirality leading to the energetically favoured diastereomeric state and giving rise to a field direction dependent uniform tilt director orientation. Field reversal induces a flipping of the layer chirality, which first leads to the less favorable diastereomeric state, and then this slowly relaxes to the more stable one by a spontaneous reversal of the tilt direction. [less ▲]

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See detailFilament formation in carbon nanotube-doped lyotropic liquid crystals
Schymura, Stefan; Dölle, Sarah; Yamamoto, Jun et al

in Soft Matter (2011), 7(6), 2663-2667

By introducing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into lyotropic nematic liquid crystals, strongly enhanced viscoelastic behaviour results, allowing the extraction of very thin and long filaments in which the CNTs ... [more ▼]

By introducing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into lyotropic nematic liquid crystals, strongly enhanced viscoelastic behaviour results, allowing the extraction of very thin and long filaments in which the CNTs are uniformly aligned. The filament formation requires the liquid crystallinity of the host phase and it does not take place for coarsely dispersed nanotubes or if their concentration is below a threshold value. The type of nanotube plays only a small role, single- as well as multiwall CNTs both trigger the filament formation, but spherical C60 fullerenes do not give rise to the phenomenon. We argue that individualized CNTs stiffen the rod-shaped micelles of the liquid crystal host and that the elongational flow then increases the nematic long-range order as well as the micelle length. If the CNTs are present at a sufficient concentration to connect in continuous linear chains of arbitrary extension, the micelle stiffening is ensured regardless of length, taking the system into a positive feedback loop between increasing orientational order and diverging micelle length. It is this percolation-like transition to aligned and quasi-infinite micelles stabilized by chains of nanotubes that makes the filament formation possible. [less ▲]

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See detailNematic-smectic transition under confinement in liquid crystalline colloidal shells
Liang, Hsin-Ling; Schymura, Stefan; Rudquist, Per et al

in Physical Review Letters (2011), 106(24), 247801

We carry out the first study of smectic liquid crystalline colloidal shells and investigate how their complex internal structure depends on the director configuration in the nematic phase, preceding the ... [more ▼]

We carry out the first study of smectic liquid crystalline colloidal shells and investigate how their complex internal structure depends on the director configuration in the nematic phase, preceding the smectic phase on cooling. Differences in the free energy cost of director bend and splay give an initial skewed distribution of topological defects in the nematic phase. In the smectic phase, the topological and geometrical constraints of the spherical shell imposed on the developing 1D quasi-long-range order create a conflict that triggers a series of buckling instabilities. Two different characteristic defect patterns arise, one driven by the curvature of the shell, the other by the strong nonuniformities in the director field in the vicinity of the topological defects. [less ▲]

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See detailTowards efficient dispersion of carbon nanotubes in thermotropic liquid crystals
Schymura, Stefan; Kühnast, Martin; Lutz, Vanessa et al

in Advanced Functional Materials (2010), 20(19), 3350-3357

Motivated by numerous recent reports indicating attractive properties of composite materials of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and liquid crystals (LCs) and a lack of research aimed at optimizing such composites ... [more ▼]

Motivated by numerous recent reports indicating attractive properties of composite materials of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and liquid crystals (LCs) and a lack of research aimed at optimizing such composites, the process of dispersing CNTs in thermotropic LCs is systematically studied. LC hosts can perform comparably or even better than the best known organic solvents for CNTs such as N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP), provided that the dispersion process and choice of LC material are optimized. The chemical structure of the molecules in the LC is very important; variations in core as well as in terminal alkyl chain influence the result. Several observations moreover indicate that the anisotropic nematic phase, aligning the nanotubes in the matrix, per se stabilizes the dispersion compared to a host that is isotropic and thus yields random tube orientation. The chemical and physical phenomena governing the preparation of the dispersion and its stability are identified, taking into account enthalpic, entropic, as well as kinetic factors. This allows a guideline on how to best design and prepare CNT–LC composites to be sketched, following which tailored development of new LCs may take the advanced functional material that CNT–LC composites comprise to the stage of commercial application. [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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See detailCarbon nanotubes in liquid crystals as versatile functional materials
Scalia, Giusy; Lagerwall, Jan UL; Schymura, Stefan et al

in Physica Status Solidi B. Basic Research (2007), 244(11), 4212-4217

Liquid crystals can be easily aligned in desired directions by treated surfaces or by external fields. The least ordered liquid crystal phase, the nematic, exhibits orientational order that can be easily ... [more ▼]

Liquid crystals can be easily aligned in desired directions by treated surfaces or by external fields. The least ordered liquid crystal phase, the nematic, exhibits orientational order that can be easily transferred onto carbon nanotubes dispersed in it. The alignment of the carbon nanotubes can be demonstrated by po- larized Raman spectroscopy. Carbon nanotubes not only well integrate in the matrix but also, even at very low concentration, have a detectable effect on the liquid crystal properties that can be very attractive for display applications. The presence of big aggregates of carbon nanotubes, on the other hand, interfere strongly with the switching behaviour of the liquid crystal, as we can show following the local switching of liquid crystal molecules with Raman spectroscopy. [less ▲]

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