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Stimuli-responsive hydroxyapatite liquid crystal with macroscopically controllable ordering and magneto-optical functions : Masanari Nakayama(D2), Professor Takashi Kato, Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, and other researchers.

Liquid crystals are mostly formed by self-assembly of organic molecules. In contrast, inorganic materials available as liquid crystals are limited. Here we report the development of liquid-crystalline (LC) hydroxyapatite (HAp), which is an environmentally friendly and biocompatible biomineral. Its alignment behavior, magneto-optical properties, and atomic-scale structures are described. We successfully induce LC properties into aqueous colloidal dispersions of rod-shaped HAp by controlling the morphology of the material using acidic macromolecules. These LC HAp nanorod materials are macroscopically oriented in response to external magnetic fields and mechanical forces. We achieve magnetic modulation of the optical transmission by dynamic control of the LC order. Atomic-scale observations using transmission electron microscopy show the self-organized inorganic/organic hybrid structures of mesogenic nanorods. HAp liquid crystals have potential as bio-friendly functional materials because of their facile preparation, the bio-friendliness of HAp, and the stimuli-responsive properties of these colloidal ordered fluids.

Nature Communications :