Dynamic assembly of liquid crystalline graphene oxide gel fibers for ion transport

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Science Advances  02 Nov 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 11, eaau2104
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau2104


Colloidal dispersions with liquid crystallinity hold great promise for fabricating their superstructures. As an example, when graphene oxide (GO) sheets are assembled in the liquid crystalline state, they can turn into ordered macroscopic forms of GO such as fibers via the wet spinning process. Here, we report that by reinforcing intersheet interactions, GO liquid crystals (LCs) turn into mechanically robust hydrogels that can be readily drawn into highly aligned fibrillar structures. GO hydrogel fibers with highly aligned sheets (orientation factor, f = 0.71) exhibit more than twice the ionic conductivity compared to those with partially aligned structures (f = 0.01). The hierarchically interconnected two-dimensional nanochannels within these neatly aligned GOLC hydrogel fibers may facilitate controlled transport of charge carriers and could be potentially explored as cables for interconnecting biosystems and/or human-made devices.

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