Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 35, 2019
Previous Article Next Article

Multimodal control of liquid crystalline mesophases from surfactants with photoswitchable tails

Author affiliations

Abstract

Non-invasive manipulation of the hierarchical structure of functional materials is a key challenge in the advancement of optoelectronics, energy conversion and storage devices and drug delivery systems. Lyotropic liquids crystals, with their long-range order and a rich array of structures, have long been exploited as soft templates to prepare porous materials. The potential to modify the template structure using an external stimulus such as light could lead to new architectures. Here, using a combination of small-angle X-ray scattering and polarised optical microscopy, we decipher the various structure/self-assembly relationships of neutral surfactants bearing photoswitchable tails, which self-organise into a rich variety of lyotropic liquid crystalline mesophases. Facile, multimodal control of the nanoscale morphology of these single-component systems is achieved through: (i) molecular structure, via careful selection of the alkyl tail/ethylene oxide headgroup lengths; (ii) concentration; (iii) temperature; and (iv) photoisomerisation. The nanoscale architectures range from the weakly concentrated hyperswollen lamellar phases, the more common lyotropic lamellar and hexagonal phases, to pure thermotropic liquid crystals; all of which are accessible at room temperature. Photoisomerisation with UV light leads to the reversible destruction of the liquid crystalline phase, which can be spatially controlled through the use of a mask. This extensive study demonstrates the versatility of neutral photosurfactants and paves the way for new applications, such as photoresponsive templates or drug delivery systems.

Graphical abstract: Multimodal control of liquid crystalline mesophases from surfactants with photoswitchable tails

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 26 Jul 2019, accepted on 12 Aug 2019 and first published on 22 Aug 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C9TC04079J
J. Mater. Chem. C, 2019,7, 10945-10952

  •   Request permissions

    Multimodal control of liquid crystalline mesophases from surfactants with photoswitchable tails

    J. E. Houston, E. A. Kelly, M. Kruteva, K. Chrissopoulou, N. Cowieson and R. C. Evans, J. Mater. Chem. C, 2019, 7, 10945
    DOI: 10.1039/C9TC04079J

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements