Functional liquid-crystalline assemblies: self-organized soft materials

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2005 Dec 16;45(1):38-68. doi: 10.1002/anie.200501384.


In the 21st century, soft materials will become more important as functional materials because of their dynamic nature. Although soft materials are not as highly durable as hard materials, such as metals, ceramics, and engineering plastics, they can respond well to stimuli and the environment. The introduction of order into soft materials induces new dynamic functions. Liquid crystals are ordered soft materials consisting of self-organized molecules and can potentially be used as new functional materials for electron, ion, or molecular transporting, sensory, catalytic, optical, and bio-active materials. For this functionalization, unconventional materials design is required. Herein, we describe new approaches to the functionalization of liquid crystals and show how the design of liquid crystals formed by supramolecular assembly and nano-segregation leads to the formation of a variety of new self-organized functional materials.