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Controlled Assembly of Nanocellulose-Stabilized Emulsions with Periodic Liquid Crystal-in-Liquid Crystal Organization

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posted on 16.10.2018, 00:00 by Guang Chu, Gleb Vasilyev, Rita Vilensky, Mor Boaz, Ruiyan Zhang, Patrick Martin, Nitsan Dahan, Shengwei Deng, Eyal Zussman
Colloidal particles combined with a polymer can be used to stabilize an oil–water interface forming stable emulsions. Here, we described a novel liquid crystal (LC)-in-LC emulsion composed of a nematic oil phase and a cholesteric or nematic aqueous cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) continuous phase. The guest oil droplets were stabilized and suspended in liquid-crystalline CNCs, inducing distortions and topological defects inside the host LC phase. These emulsions exhibited anisotropic interactions between the two LCs that depended on the diameter-to-pitch ratio of suspended guest droplets and the host CNC cholesteric phase. When the ratio was high, oil droplets were embedded into a cholesteric shell with a concentric packing of CNC layers and took on a radial orientation of the helical axis. Otherwise, discrete surface-trapped LC droplet assemblies with long-range ordering were obtained, mimicking the fingerprint configuration of the cholesteric phase. Thus, the LC-in-LC emulsions presented here define a new class of ordered soft matter in which both nematic and cholesteric LC ordering can be well-manipulated.

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