Nematic-to-columnar mesophase transition by in situ supramolecular
Keiichi Yano, Yoshimitsu Itoh, Fumito Araoka, Go Watanabe, Takaaki Hikima, Takuzo Aida
Disk- and rod-shaped molecules are incompatible in coassembly, as the former tend to stack one-dimensionally whereas the latter tend to align in parallel. Because this type of incompatibility can be more pronounced in condensed phases, different-shaped molecules generally exclude one another. We report that supramolecular polymerization of a disk-shaped chiral monomer in nematic liquid crystals comprising rod-shaped molecules results in order-increasing mesophase transition into a single mesophase with a core-shell columnar geometry. This liquid crystalline material responds quickly to an applied electric field, resulting in unidirectional columnar ordering. Moreover, it can be modularly customized to be optoelectrically responsive simply by using a photoisomerizable rod-shaped module. The modular strategy allows for cooperative integration of different functions into elaborate dynamic architectures.