Tunable templating of photonic microparticles via liquid crystal order-guided adsorption of amphiphilic polymers in emulsions

Xu Ma, Yucen Han, Yan-Song Zhang, Yong Geng, Apala Majumdar, Jan P. F. Lagerwall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Multiple emulsions are usually stabilized by amphiphilic molecules that combine the chemical characteristics of the different phases in contact. When one phase is a liquid crystal (LC), the choice of stabilizer also determines its configuration, but conventional wisdom assumes that the orientational order of the LC has no impact on the stabilizer. Here we show that, for the case of amphiphilic polymer stabilizers, this impact can be considerable. The mode of interaction between stabilizer and LC changes if the latter is heated close to its isotropic state, initiating a feedback loop that reverberates on the LC in form of a complete structural rearrangement. We utilize this phenomenon to dynamically tune the configuration of cholesteric LC shells from one with radial helix and spherically symmetric Bragg diffraction to a focal conic domain configuration with highly complex optics. Moreover, we template photonic microparticles from the LC shells by photopolymerizing them into solids, retaining any selected LC-derived structure. Our study places LC emulsions in a new light, calling for a reevaluation of the behavior of stabilizer molecules in contact with long-range ordered phases, while also enabling highly interesting photonic elements with application opportunities across vast fields.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1404
Number of pages15
JournalNature Communications
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2024

Keywords

  • amphiphilic molecules
  • liquid crystal
  • amphiphilic polymer stabilizers
  • LC emulsions

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Tunable templating of photonic microparticles via liquid crystal order-guided adsorption of amphiphilic polymers in emulsions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this