The term liquid crystal is often associated with fascinating compounds that exhibit unusual melting or solubilisation properties, however, it also represents a unique collection of mesophases that exist between the solid state and the amorphous liquid. As such, this unique state of matter can be accessed by a wide variety of materials from low molar mass to polymeric systems. In this Feature Article we describe some recent studies concerning the liquid-crystalline behaviour of 'in-between' materials that have discrete molecular structures, and which are oligomeric but not low molar mass or polymeric systems. Thus, these materials could be described as having supermolecular architectures. We examine some of their mesophase properties and their abilities to form supramolecular assemblies. The development of liquid crystals that have large molecular structures or consist of large scale assemblies is one step towards creating novel self-organising systems which are of a similar dimension to certain biological materials, such as proteins.
|Number of pages||14|
|Publication status||Published - 7 Oct 1998|