Optical monitoring of gases with cholesteric liquid crystals

Y. Han, K.B. Pacheco Morillo, C.W.M. Bastiaansen, D.J. Broer, R.P. Sijbesma

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A new approach to optical monitors for gases is introduced using cholesteric liquid crystals doped with reactive chiral compounds. The approach is based on cholesteric pitch length changes caused by a change in helical twisting power (HTP) of the chiral dopants upon reaction with the analyte. The concept is demonstrated for monitoring carbon dioxide via reversible carbamate formation and for oxygen using the irreversible oxidation of a chiral dithiol to a disulfide. Monitoring of CO2 was achieved by doping a commercial cholesteric liquid crystalline mixture (E7) with 1.6% mol of the 1:1 complex of an optically pure diamine with a TADDOL derivative. Upon exposure to carbon dioxide, the reflection band of a thin film of the mixture shifted from 637 to 495 nm as a consequence of dissociation of the complex after carbamate formation of the diamine. An O2 monitor was obtained by doping E7 with a chiral binaphthyl dithiol derivative and a nonresponsive codopant. The reflection band of the oxygen monitor film changed from 542 to 600 nm, due to the conformational change accompanying oxidation of the dithiol to disulfide. These monitoring mechanisms hold promise for application in smart packaging, where carbon dioxide and oxygen are of special interest because of their roles in food preservation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2961-2967
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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