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23 March 2016 Nanotube networks in liquid crystals
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Proceedings Volume 9769, Emerging Liquid Crystal Technologies XI; 97690Q (2016)
Event: SPIE OPTO, 2016, San Francisco, California, United States
Liquid crystals (LCs) are very attractive hosts for the organization of anisotropic nanoparticles such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) because of the macroscopic organization resulting in properties of nanoparticles manifest at a macroscopic scale. Different types of LCs have demonstrated the ability to organize nanotubes, showing the generality of the approach, i.e., that the liquid crystallinity per se is the driving factor for the organization. Compared to standard nanotube composites (e.g. with disordered polymer hosts) the introduction of carbon nanotubes into an LC allows not only the transfer of the outstanding CNT properties to the macroscopic phase, providing strength and conductivity, but these properties also become anisotropic, following the transfer of the orientational order from the LC to the CNTs. The LC molecular structure plays an important even if ancillary role since it enters in the surface interactions, fulfilling a mediating action between the particle and the bulk of the LC. Isolated nanotubes can be obtained by optimized dispersions at lower concentrations and this process requires the use or development of tailored strategies like using solvents or even another LC for pre-dispersing CNTs. Aggregates or networks can be observed in poor dispersions and at higher nanoparticle concentrations. In those, due to surface interactions, the LC behaviour can be strongly affected with changes in phase sequences or transition temperatures and the effect is expected to be more pronounced as the concentration of nanotubes increases. We present preliminary investigations and observations on nanotube – LC systems based on a smectic LC host.
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Martin Urbanski, Jan Peter Felix Lagerwall, and Giusy Scalia "Nanotube networks in liquid crystals", Proc. SPIE 9769, Emerging Liquid Crystal Technologies XI, 97690Q (23 March 2016);

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