Liquid crystalline composite gels consisting of a low molecular mass gelator and a low molecular mass liquid crystal were prepared by two types of gelation method (continuous cooling and isothermal gelating), which provide different molecular self-assembling kinetics of the low molecular mass gelator as gelation proceeds. Optical microscopy and atomic force microscopy revealed that numerous fine strands of the one-dimensionally assembled low molecular mass gelators were formed in the composite gels for both the continuous cooling method and the isothermal gelating method. However, the thinner strands were more homogeneously dispersed in the isothermal gelation product at an appropriate temperature, than in the continuous cooling process. This difference in dispersion state of the strands was shown (by polarizing optical microscopy) to have a significant influence on the molecular alignment of the low molecular mass liquid crystal in the liquid crystalline composite gel. The electro-optical response and light scattering transmitting switching, of the liquid crystalline composite gel in an applied electric field was extremely dependent on the morphology of the gelators. High contrast light switching was achieved for the composite prepared by isothermal gelation. The response time of electro-optical switching was less than 100 μs under 30 Vrms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics