Mesomorphic ionic hyperbranched polymers: effect of structural parameters on liquid-crystalline properties and on the formation of gold nanohybrids†
Branched thermotropic liquid crystals were successfully obtained from ionic interactions between hyperbranched polyamidoamine and sodium dodecylsulfate. These complexes present columnar rectangular and lamellar thermotropic mesophases as demonstrated by polarized optical microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, and small-angle X-ray scattering. The relationships between the structural characteristics of the polymers (size of the hyperbranched core, hyperbranched or dendritic nature of the core, and substitution ratio) and the mesomorphic properties were studied. In situ formation of gold nanoparticles was then performed. The templating effect of the liquid crystal mesophase resulted in the formation of isotropic nanoparticles, the size of which was dictated by the local organization of the mesophase and by the molar mass of the hyperbranched complex.