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New review on cellulose nanocrystal self-assembly in NPG Asia Materials

Our review article on the balance between liquid crystalline self-assembly and glass formation in colloidal suspensions of cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) is now published (open access!) in NPG Asia Materials. You can download it without subscription from the web site here. The paper is a result of our collaboration with Lennart Bergström’s group at Stockholm University as well as with Giusy Scalia’s group here at the GSCST. We discuss how the tendency for liquid crystalline ordering in colloidal suspensions of crystalline nanorods of cellulose competes with gelation, or glass formation. The liquid crystal formation dominates at low CNC concentration but at somewhat higher concentrations gelation sets in and prevents further changes of the liquid crystal phase diagram, as well as a further reduction under equilibrium conditions in the helical pitch of the chiral nematic phase that is the single liquid crystal phase found so far in CNC suspension. We briefly discuss how one might proceed to shift the balance in favor of liquid crystal ordering and thus see also transitions to higher ordered liquid crystal phases, e.g. columnar or smectic.