Nanotech 2011

Interactions Between Carbon Nanotubes and 5CB Liquid Crystal

G.Y. Georgiev, E.A. Gombos, M.B. McIntyre, P. Cebe
Assumption College, US

Keywords: carbon nanotubes, 5CB liquid crystal, interactions

Abstract:

Multiwall Carbon Nanotubes (MWCNT) align by coupling to the liquid crystals’ (LC) nematic director in LC/MWCNT dispersions. It is important to answer the question: How LCs couple so strongly to MWCNTs that LCs can be used as molecular motors for MWCNT upon application of electric field? We find that the peaks associated with vibrations of the aromatic rings of the 5CB molecule change proportionally to the concentration of MWCNTs, through FT-IR spectroscopy. We conclude that one of the reasons for the alignment of the nematic directors of 5CB and MWCNTs is this pi-pi stacking interaction, which also may lead to other effects on the properties of liquid crystals, such as improved order parameter and changed transition electric field in the Fréedericksz transition. Our results here and in provide support to a theory that there are even more aspects to the interactions between 5CB and MWCNTs and that the MWCNTs may change the LC order of 5CB from nematic to smectic aligning 5CB in layers on its surface. Further investigations of the MWCNTs interactions with 5CB can lead to developing of a complete model of this phenomenon and help applications for electro optic cells, nanoswitches, new crystal forms for optics, communication technology and others.
 

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