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J Am Chem Soc. 2008 Feb 6;130(5):1735-40. doi: 10.1021/ja077192j. Epub 2008 Jan 16.

Well-defined liquid crystal gels from telechelic polymers.

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Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA.


Well-defined liquid crystal networks with controlled molecular weight between cross-links and cross-link functionality were prepared by "click" cross-linking of telechelic polymers produced by ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP). The networks readily swell in a small molecule liquid crystal, 5CB, to form LC gels with high swelling ratios. These gels exhibit fast, reversible, and low-threshold optic switching under applied electric fields when they are unconstrained between electrodes. For a given electric field, the LC gels prepared from shorter telechelic polymers showed a reduced degree of switching than their counterparts made from longer polymer strands. The reported approach provides control over important parameters for LC networks, such as the length of the network strands between cross-links, cross-linker functionality, and mesogen density. Therefore, it allows a detailed study of relationships between molecular structure and macroscopic properties of these scientifically and technologically interesting networks.

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