DOI: 10.3390/molecules28237849 ISSN: 1420-3049

Synthesis and Characterization of Side-Chain Liquid-Crystalline Block Copolymers Containing Cyano-Terminated Phenyl Benzoate Moieties

Kaito Takahashi, Daisuke Taguchi, Takashi Kajitani, Takanori Fukushima, Shoichi Kubo, Atsushi Shishido
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmaceutical Science

Block copolymers, known for their capacity to undergo microphase separation, spontaneously yield various periodic nanostructures. These precisely controlled nanostructures have attracted considerable interest due to their potential applications in microfabrication templates, conducting films, filter membranes, and other areas. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that microphase-separated structures typically exhibit random alignment, making alignment control a pivotal factor in functional material development. To address this challenge, researchers have explored the use of block copolymers containing liquid-crystalline (LC) polymers, which offer a promising technique for alignment control. The molecular structure and LC behavior of these polymers significantly impact the morphology and alignment of microphase-separated structures. In this study, we synthesized LC diblock copolymers with cyano-terminated phenyl benzoate moieties and evaluated the microphase-separated structures and molecular alignment behaviors. The LC diblock copolymers with a narrow molecular weight distribution were synthesized by atom transfer radical polymerization. Small angle X-ray scattering measurements revealed that the block copolymers exhibit smectic LC phases and form cylinder structures with a lattice period of about 18 nm by microphase separation. The examination of block copolymer films using polarized optical microscopy and polarized UV-visible absorption spectroscopy corroborated that the LC moieties were uniaxially aligned along the alignment treatment direction.

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