New amphiphilic polycarbonates with side functionalized cholesteryl groups as biomesogenic units: synthesis, structure and liquid crystal behavior†
The synthesis of four new amphipathic copolymers with side functionalized-cholesterol based aliphatic polycarbonates is described through the ring-opening polymerization and coupling reaction. The chemical structures, liquid crystal (LC) behavior, and thermal stability of the chiral monomers and copolymers obtained in this study were characterized using Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy, gel permeation chromatography (GPC), polarizing optical microscopy (POM), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) measurements. The effect of the spacer length on the molecular interaction and mesophase of the chiral monomers and copolymers was investigated. It was found that chiral monomers with longer spacer seemed beneficial for the formation of mesophases, and the additional ordering on polymerization caused mesophases to be more ordered than for the corresponding monomers. The LC copolymers all revealed a smectic A phase with an interdigitated molecular arrangement. The results seemed to show a decreased tendency toward the glass transition temperature, and isotropic temperature for the LC copolymers by increasing the spacer length. In addition, four LC copolymers had a good thermal stability.