High-Contrast and Fast Photorheological Switching of a Twist-Bend Nematic Liquid Crystal

Satoshi Aya, Péter Salamon, Daniel A. Paterson, John M. D. Storey, Corrie T. Imrie, Fumito Araoka, Antal Jákli, Ágnes Buka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Smart viscoelastic materials that respond to specific stimuli are one of the most attractive classes of materials important to future technologies, such as on-demand switchable adhesion technologies, actuators, molecular clutches, and nano-/microscopic mass transporters. Recently it was found that through a special solid-liquid transition, rheological properties can exhibit significant changes, thus providing suitable smart viscoelastic materials. However, designing materials with such a property is complex, and forward and backward switching times are usually long. Therefore, it is important to explore new working mechanisms to realize solid-liquid transitions, shorten the switching time, and enhance the contrast of rheological properties during switching. Here, a light-induced crystal-liquid phase transition is observed, which is characterized by means of polarizing light microscopy (POM), photorheometry, photo-differential scanning calorimetry (photo-DSC), and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The light-induced crystal-liquid phase transition presents key features such as (1) fast switching of crystal-liquid phases for both forward and backward reactions and (2) a high contrast ratio of viscoelasticity. In the characterization, POM is advantageous in offering information on the spatial distribution of LC molecule orientations, determining the type of liquid crystalline phases appearing in the material, and studying the orientation of LCs. Photorheometry allows measurement of a material's rheological properties under light stimuli and can reveal the photorheological switching properties of materials. Photo-DSC is a technique to investigate thermodynamic information of materials in darkness and under light irradiation. Lastly, XRD allows studying of microscopic structures of materials. The goal of this article is to clearly present how to prepare and measure the discussed properties of a photorheological material.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere60433
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number152
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2019

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