Liquid Crystalline Copolymers Containing Sulfonic and Light-Responsive Groups: From Molecular Design to Conductivity

Sakinah Mohd Alauddin, Nurul Fadhilah Kamalul Aripin, Thamil Selvi Velayutham, Alfonso Martinez-Felipe* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

In the search for novel smart multifunctional liquid crystalline materials, we report the synthesis, thermal and structural characterisation, and the conductivity, of a set of new block and statistical copolymers, containing light-responsive mesogenic groups (MeOAzB), polar sulfonic acids (AMPS), and methyl(methacrylate) groups (MMA). By using a cascade of reversible addition-fragmentation chain polymerisations, RAFT, we have tailored different side-chain polymeric structures by controlling monomer composition (MeOAzB/AMPS/MMA) and configuration. We have yielded simultaneous liquid crystalline behaviour and appreciable conductivity in polymers with low concentrations of polar acid groups, by the formation of smectic phases in narrow aggregates. The light-responsiveness of the polymers, via reversible trans-to-cis photoisomerization of azobenzene groups, and the local activation of conductivity at relatively low temperatures, opens the possibility to prepare polymer electrolytes for energy conversion and storage, whose conductivity could be controlled and optimised by external stimuli, including light irradiation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2579
Number of pages18
JournalMolecules
Volume25
Issue number11
Early online date2 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Keywords

  • liquid crystalline polymers
  • light-responsive materials
  • ionic conductivity
  • polymer electrolytes
  • azobenzenes

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