Nanoparticles in Liquid Crystals: Synthesis, Self-Assembly, Defect Formation and Potential Applications

Review

Abstract

Revolutionary developments in the fabrication of nanosized particles have created enormous expectations in the last few years for the use of such materials in areas such as medical diagnostics and drug-delivery, and in high-tech devices. By its very nature, nanotechnology is of immense academic and industrial interest as it involves the creation and exploitation of materials with structural features in between those of atoms and bulk materials, with at least one dimension limited to between 1 and 100 nm. Most importantly, the properties of materials with nanometric dimensions are, in most instances, significantly different from those of atoms or bulk materials. Research efforts geared towards new synthetic procedures for shape and size-uniform nanoscale building blocks as well as efficient self-assembly protocols for manipulation of these building blocks into functional materials has created enormous excitement in the field of liquid crystal research. Liquid crystals (LCs) by their very nature are suitable candidates for matrix-guided synthesis and self-assembly of nanoscale materials, since the liquid crystalline state combines order and mobility at the molecular (nanoscale) level. Based on selected relevant examples, this review attempts to give a short overview of current research efforts in LC-nanoscience. The areas addressed in this review include the synthesis of nanomaterials using LCs as templates, the design of LC nanomaterials, self-assembly of nanomaterials using LC phases, defect formation in LC-nanoparticle suspensions, and potential applications. Despite the seeming diversity of these research topics, this review will make an effort to establish logical links between these different research areas.

Keywords

defects liquid crystal liquid crystals nanochemistry nanoclusters nanomaterials nanoparticles self-assembly self-organization template synthesis 

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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