Thin films of organics/silica nanohybrids synthesized on a substrate have been subjects of extensive
investigation. In general, however, the nanostructures of the thin films are aligned only at local levels, but are
randomized at larger scales. Development of alignment methods for such nanostructures at larger scales is of great
demand to extend applications. We report herein newly developped methods for macroscopic alignment and
micropatterning of nanohybrid films synthesized on a photo-crosslinkable liquid crystalline polymer thin film. Two
topics are included: First, the photoalignment of ordinary templating systems of 2D hexagonal liquid crystalline
surfactant micelles. Mesostructured organic/inorganic hybrid materials are widely studied. Here, the method of
photoaligning and characterizations of the resulting materials will be presented. Second, the photoalignment of
chromonic columnar liquid crystal of dye aggregates. We have newly developed a procedure to synthesize a nanohybrid
consisting of chromonic liquid crystal and silica network. This new type of chromonic nanohybrids is also found to be
aligned by the identical photo-crosslinkable polymer film.
The hybridization of different types of materials frequently leads to specific performances and structure formation. Our current interest is focused onto dynamic performances photofunctional polymers assisted by hybridized liquid crystal molecules. In this paper, two current topics undergoing in our laboratory are presented. In the former part, mnolayer formation of hydrophobic polysilanes assisted by polar calamitic liquid crystal molecules is described. This is the first example of monolayer formation of a fully dydrophobic polymer on water. The latter part shows the marked acceleration of lateral mass migration promoted by photoirradiation in azobenzene-containing polymers. Both systems utilize common and general features of liquid crystals, namely, dynamic properties (fluidity) maintaining orientational order in the molecular assemblies. We show herein the high validity of liquid crystals for thin film processing of polymers.