Our research aims at the design of novel liquid crystalline (LC) materials controlling the self-assembly of functional building blocks on a nanometer scale. The fluid properties facilitate the orientation of these nanostructures in self-healing thin solid films. We focus on LC molecules with non-conventional topology such as star, bent, board shape or Janus compounds.
The condensed phase structures of star-shaped molecules are fine-tuned by the generation of free space, in which guests can be incorporated. Nanosegregation of incompatible building blocks and space-filling conduct the positioning of molecular units and produce complex functional LC materials. Detailed knowledge of these self-assembly processes is achieved via comprehensive studies by X-ray scattering techniques, modelling and photophysical investigations, which leads subsequently to the development of stimuli-responsive materials.
The self-assemblies of bent- and V-shaped nematogens are dominated by the precisely controlled molecular anisotropy. The synthesis is guided by the theoretically predicted most promising aspect ratio or molecular bent for a molecule with a maximum biaxial shape. These nematogens are envisaged to orient each individual molecular axis along one specific direction maintaining the highly fluid nature. Such phases are of high scientific and industrial interest.