Structural transitions and guest/host complexing of liquid crystal helical nanofilaments induced by nanoconfinement

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Science Advances  10 Feb 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 2, e1602102
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602102


A lamellar liquid crystal (LC) phase of certain bent-core mesogenic molecules can be grown in a manner that generates a single chiral helical nanofilament in each of the cylindrical nanopores of an anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) membrane. By introducing guest molecules into the resulting composite chiral nanochannels, we explore the structures and functionality of the ordered guest/host LC complex, verifying the smectic-like positional order of the fluidic nematic LC phase, which is obtained by the combination of the LC organization and the nanoporous AAO superstructure. The guest nematic LC 4′-n-pentyl-4-cyanobiphenyl is found to form a distinctive fluid layered ordered LC complex at the nanofilament/guest interface with the host 1,3-phenylene bis[4-(4-nonyloxyphenyliminomethyl)benzoate], where this interface contacts the AAO cylinder wall. Filament growth form is strongly influenced by mixture parameters and pore dimensions.

  • Self-assembly
  • Guest-host complexing
  • helical nanofilament phase
  • nematic liquid crystal phase
  • nanoconfinement
  • nano-segregation

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