Understanding the relationships between liquid crystalline behavior, morphology and the resulting properties of liquid crystalline polymer-graphene oxide composites
Ever since the discovery of the fascinating liquid crystalline phenomenon, its occurrence in optoelectronic applications continues to rise. However, the biggest challenge lies in developing liquid crystals (LCs) with outstanding material properties. This research project uniquely aims to combine the excellent electrical properties of reduced graphene oxide (rGO) nanoplatelets with the superior optical and mechanical properties of liquid crystalline polymers (LCPs). Starting from well-dispersed stable suspensions of rGO, in the liquid (isotropic) phase of an LCP, different selforganized crystalline structures of these LCPs, both spatially and/or positionally oriented, will be generated. Thereto, we will exploit the self-assembly of LCPs between the rGO sheets by tailoring the LCP and rGO properties. Finally, the crystallization processes of LCPs will be altered by the application of shear or extensional flows, which allows to mimic processing conditions. The in-situ time-resolved study of morphology-dynamics-properties relationships at various length scales will thus provide a challenging opportunity to generically develop LCP/rGO composites with properties that can be tuned for various optoelectronic applications.