Research ArticlePHYSICS

Nanoparticle-laden droplets of liquid crystals: Interactive morphogenesis and dynamic assembly

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  05 Jul 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 7, eaav1035
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav1035

Abstract

Defects in liquid crystals serve as templates for nanoparticle (NP) organization; however, NP assembly in cholesteric (Ch) liquid crystals is only beginning to emerge. We show interactive morphogenesis of NP assemblies and a Ch liquid crystalline host formed by cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs), in which both the host and the guest experience marked changes in shape and structure as a function of concentration. At low NP loading, Ch-CNC droplets exhibit flat-ellipsoidal packing of Ch pseudolayers, while the NPs form a toroidal ring- or two cone–shaped assemblies at droplet poles. Increase in NP loading triggers reversible droplet transformation to gain a core-shell morphology with an isotropic core and a Ch shell, with NPs partitioning in the core and in disclinations. We show programmable assembly of droplets carrying magnetic NPs. This work offers a strategy for NP organization in Ch liquid crystals, thus broadening the spectrum of architectures of soft nanostructured materials.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text