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Electric-Alignment Immobilization of Liquid Crystalline Colloidal Nanosheets with the Aid of a Natural Organic Polymer

Mouri, Emiko, Irie, Akari, Nakato, Teruyuki
Langmuir 2019 v.35 no.21 pp. 7003-7008
agar, electric field, liquid crystals, nanosheets, polymers, temperature, thermosensitivity
Inorganic nanosheets obtained by exfoliation of a layered crystal in water form colloidal liquid crystals, and their alignment can be controlled by an electric field. In order to realize the immobilization of the electrically aligned niobate nanosheets without external forces, an aqueous gelator, agar, is introduced to the niobate nanosheet system to utilize the thermosensitive sol–gel transition property of agar. Alignment of nanosheets in a niobate–agar system is performed by applying an electric field above the sol–gel transition temperature, and then, the sample is cooled down, followed by cooling below the transition temperature with the electric field turned off. The aligned structure is kept for more than 24 h after the removal of the electric field. The concentration of agar is a key parameter for both the orientation of nanosheets and the retention of the orientation.