Confinement effects on lyotropic nematic liquid crystal phases of graphene oxide dispersions

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Graphene oxide (GO) forms well ordered liquid crystal (LC) phases in polar solvents. Here, we map the lyotropic phase diagram of GO as a function of the lateral dimensions of the GO flakes, their concentration, geometrical confinement configuration and solvent polarity. GO flakes were prepared in water and transferred into other polar solvents. Polarising Optical Microscopy (POM) was used to determine the phase evolution through the isotropic-biphasic-nematic transitions of the GO LC. We report that the confinement volume and geometry relative to the particle size is critical for the observation of the lyotropic phase, specifically, this determines the low-end concentration limit for the detection of the GO LC. Additionally, a solvent with higher polarisability stabilises the LC phases at lower concentrations and smaller flake sizes. GO LCs have been proposed for a range of applications from display technologies to conductive fibres, and the behaviour of LC phase formation under confinement imposes a limit on miniaturisation of the dimensions of such GO LC systems which could significantly impact on their potential applications.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Journal2 D Materials
Early online date4 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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