Homeotropic self-alignment of discotic liquid crystals for nanoporous polymer films

Jody A.M. Lugger, Dirk J. Mulder, Subham Bhattacharjee, Rint P. Sijbesma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
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Nanostructured polymer films with continuous, membrane-spanning pores from polymerizable hexagonal columnar discotic liquid crystals (LCs) were fabricated. A robust alignment method was developed to obtain homeotropic alignment of columns between glass surfaces by adding a small amount of a tri(ethylene glycol) modified analogue of the mesogen as a dopant that preferentially wets glass. The homeotropic LC alignment was fixated via a photoinitiated free radical copolymerization of a high-temperature tolerant trisallyl mesogen with a divinyl ester. Removal of the hydrogen-bonded template from the aligned columns afforded a nanoporous network with pores of nearly 1 nm in diameter perpendicular to the surface, and without noticeable collapse of the nanopores. The effect of pore orientation was demonstrated by an adsorption experiment in which homeotropic film showed a threefold increase in the initial uptake rate of methylene blue compared to planarly aligned films.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6714-6724
Number of pages11
JournalACS Nano
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2018


  • adsorption
  • homeotropic alignment
  • liquid crystals
  • nanoporous membranes
  • polymer network


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