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Langmuir. 2004 Aug 3;20(16):6530-4.

Liquid crystalline gel with refractive index gradient of curdlan.

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Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Gunma University, Kiryu, Gunma 376-8515, Japan.


Curdlan dissolved in aqueous sodium hydroxide was dialyzed to aqueous calcium chloride to form a gel. Transparent and turbid concentric layers observed in the gel cross section perpendicular to the long axis of the dialysis tube were identified as liquid crystalline gels with refractive index gradient and amorphous gels, respectively. The thickness of each layer was proportional to the diameter of the dialysis tube, and the gelation proceeded in proportion to the root of time. The unique pattern formation was attributed to the change of curdlan conformation and calcium-induced cross-linking resulting from a diffusion of calcium cations and hydroxide anions through the dialysis tube. It is suggested that the orderedness of the curdlan molecules decreases by the increase of the curvature of the concentric liquid crystal layers as the layer comes toward the center of the dialysis tube.

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