Very large molecules, or macromolecules, or polymers, are of incredible importance in nature as well as in technology and society. To most people they are probably connected primarily to plastics, but in fact the cellulose of plants, the proteins carrying out so many vital functions in our bodies as well as the DNA carrying our hereditary information are polymers as well. In our research we work with synthetic polymers in the theme dealing with electrospinning, and we explore the biopolymer cellulose in the shape of crystalline nanorods.
Moreover, we even make polymers in some of our research, using reactive small molecules, most often forming liquid crystals. This way we can for instance make liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) actuators, a field we are exploring together with the macromolecular chemistry group of Prof. Rudolf Zentel, Johannes-Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. Our main focus here is to make LCEs with unconventional shapes, e.g. in shells or tubes produced by microfluidic techniques. We also polymerize liquid crystals to render structures produced by liquid crystalline self-assembly permanent, i.e. the liquid crystal precursor templates a final solid material, such that we can use them in contexts where a liquid state sample is not acceptable.
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Three most recent publications
Isotropic-isotropic phase separation and spinodal decomposition in liquid crystal-solvent mixtures, Catherine G. Reyes, Jörg Baller, Takeaki Araki and Jan P. F. Lagerwall , soft matter, 2019,15, 6044-6054
Liquid crystal elastomer shell actuators with negative order parameter, V. S. R. Jampani, R. H. Volpe, K. Reguengo de Sousa, J. Ferreira Machado, C. M. Yakacki and J. P. F. Lagerwall, Sci.adv.,DOI 10.1126/sciadv.aaw2476
Influence of head group and chain length of surfactants using for stabilising liquid crystal shells,
Anjali Sharma and J.P.F. Lagerwall,Liquid crystals, DOI 10.1080/02678292.2018.1509391
More publications can be found here.