15 February 2017 Nanoparticle microstructures templated by liquid crystal phase-transition dynamics
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Abstract
Liquid crystal (LC) phase transition dynamics can be used as a powerful tool to control the assembly of dispersed nanoparticles. Tailored mesogenic ligands can both enhance and tune particle dispersion in the liquid crystal phase to create liquid crystal nano-composites - a novel type of material. Soft nanocomposites have recently risen to prominence for their potential usage in a variety of industrial applications such as photovoltaics, photonic materials, and the liquid crystal laser. Our group has developed a novel phase-transition-templating process for the generation of micron-scale, vesicle-like nanoparticle shells stabilized by mesogenic ligand-ligand interactions. The mesogenic ligand’s flexible arm structure enhances ligand alignment with the local LC director, providing control over the dispersion and stabilization of nanoparticles in liquid crystal phases. In this paper we explore the capsule formation process in detail, generating QD-based capsules over a surprisingly wide range of radii. We demonstrate that the initial nanoparticle concentration and cooling rate are important parameters influencing capsule size. By increasing particle concentration of nanoparticles and reducing the cooling rate we developed large shells up to 96±19 μm in diameter whereas decreasing concentration and increasing the cooling rate produces shells as small as 4±1 μm.
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Sheida T. Riahinasab, Ahmed Elbaradei, Amir Keshavarz, Benjamin J. Stokes, Linda S. Hirst, "Nanoparticle microstructures templated by liquid crystal phase-transition dynamics", Proc. SPIE 10125, Emerging Liquid Crystal Technologies XII, 1012503 (15 February 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2260841; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2260841
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