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Issue 2, 2009
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Spontaneous homeotropic alignment in films of rigid–flexible polyelectrolyte complexes

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Abstract

Contrary to expectation, the electrostatic complexation of a rigid-rod anionic polyelectrolyte that exhibits nematic phase behaviour in aqueous solution with a flexible cationic polyelectrolyte forms homeotropically aligned films upon casting, i.e. the rigid molecules spontaneously align perpendicular to the substrate. Moreover, such alignment is retained upon the introduction of up to 10 mol% of a flexible cationic polyelectrolyte. The formation of a weak physical gel during film drying or in the precursor solution appears to be critical in facilitating homeotropic alignment in such films. Consequently, it can be envisaged that electrostatic complexation may be fine tuned in order to provide homeotropically aligned films of any rigid charged molecule.

Graphical abstract: Spontaneous homeotropic alignment in films of rigid–flexible polyelectrolyte complexes

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Publication details

The article was received on 29 Apr 2008, accepted on 01 Aug 2008 and first published on 22 Sep 2008


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B807298A
Citation: Soft Matter, 2009,5, 342-345
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    Spontaneous homeotropic alignment in films of rigid–flexible polyelectrolyte complexes

    H. A. Every, L. van der Ham, S. J. Picken and E. Mendes, Soft Matter, 2009, 5, 342
    DOI: 10.1039/B807298A

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