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Issue 34, 2011
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Nanocomposites of a nematic liquid crystal doped with magic-sized CdSe quantum dots

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We here report on the optical, alignment and electro-optic properties of a nematic liquid crystal affected by the presence of semiconductor CdSe magic-sized nanocrystals (MSNCs). Three single-sized CdSe samples were tested, exhibiting bright bandgap photoluminescence (PL) with λmax ≈ 463 nm and ∼10 nm full width at half-maximum (fwhm). The three quantum dot (QD) samples were passivated with a monolayer of myristic acid. Two of them (QD1 and QD2) only vary in the amount of defects as indicated by different bandgap and deep trap PL. The third MSNC sample (QD3) is compositionally different, doped with Zn. These MSNCs with almost identical sizes were doped at different concentrations (1–5 wt%) into the nematic phase of 5-n-heptyl-2-(4-n-octyloxyphenyl)-pyrimidine (LC1). Only QD3 showed the formation of birefringent stripes surrounded by areas of homeotropic alignment between plain glass slides at all concentrations as observed for many other nanoparticle-doped nematic liquid crystals reported earlier by our group. In polyimide-coated glass slides favouring planar orientation of the nematic director, planar alignment was observed. Surprisingly, only the Zn-doped magic-sized QD3quantum dots (CdSe@Zn) significantly lower the dielectric anisotropy as well as the splay elastic constant of the nematic host, despite identical size and surface functionality, which highlights the tremendous effect of the nanocrystal core composition on the electro-optic properties of the nematic host. In addition, fluorescence confocal (polarizing) microscopy studies show the director field within and around the birefringent stripes and confirm locally elevated concentrations or aggregates of the MCNC that are otherwise randomly distributed in the nematic host.

Graphical abstract: Nanocomposites of a nematic liquid crystal doped with magic-sized CdSe quantum dots

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Supplementary files

Article information

26 Apr 2011
22 Jun 2011
First published
26 Jul 2011

J. Mater. Chem., 2011,21, 12710-12716
Article type

Nanocomposites of a nematic liquid crystal doped with magic-sized CdSe quantum dots

J. Mirzaei, M. Urbanski, K. Yu, Heinz-S. Kitzerow and T. Hegmann, J. Mater. Chem., 2011, 21, 12710
DOI: 10.1039/C1JM11832C

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