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A case of antiferrochirality in a liquid crystal phase of counter-rotating staircases

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-28024-1 DOI Help

Authors: Ya-Xin Li (Henan University of Technology; Xi’an Jiaotong University; University of Sheffield) , Hong-Fei Gao (Yunnan University) , Rui-Bin Zhang (University of Sheffield) , Kutlwano Gabana (University of Sheffield) , Qing Chang (Yunnan University) , Gillian A. Gehring (University of Sheffield) , Xiao-Hong Cheng (Yunnan University; Yangtze Normal University) , Xiang-Bing Zeng (University of Sheffield) , Goran Ungar (Xi’an Jiaotong University; University of Sheffield)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Nature Communications , VOL 13

State: Published (Approved)
Published: January 2022

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: Helical structures continue to inspire, prompted by examples such as DNA double-helix and alpha-helix in proteins. Most synthetic polymers also crystallize as helices, which relieves steric clashes by twisting, while keeping the molecules straight for their ordered packing. In columnar liquid crystals, which often display useful optoelectronic properties, overall helical chirality can be induced by inclusion of chiral chemical groups or dopants; these bias molecular twist to either left or right, analogous to a magnetic field aligning the spins in a paramagnet. In this work, however, we show that liquid-crystalline columns with long-range helical order can form by spontaneous self-assembly of straight- or bent-rod molecules without inclusion of any chiral moiety. A complex lattice with Fddd symmetry and 8 columns per unit cell (4 right-, 4 left-handed) characterizes this “antiferrochiral” structure. In selected compounds it allows close packing of their fluorescent groups reducing their bandgap and giving them promising light-emitting properties.

Journal Keywords: Liquid crystals; Self-assembly

Subject Areas: Materials, Physics, Chemistry


Instruments: I16-Materials and Magnetism , I22-Small angle scattering & Diffraction

Other Facilities: BM28 at ESRF

Added On: 25/01/2022 09:17

Documents:
s41467-022-28024-1.pdf

Discipline Tags:

Physics Physical Chemistry Chemistry Materials Science

Technical Tags:

Scattering Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) Wide Angle X-ray Scattering (WAXS) Grazing Incidence Small Angle Scattering (GISAXS) Grazing Incidence Wide Angle Scattering (GIWAXS)