Biopolymers, like DNA, peptides, and polysaccharides, are well-known to form liquid crystalline phases, primarily with a nematic or chiral nematic structure.(1) In this work we show how the packing of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) in the anisotropic chiral nematic phase appears as investigated over a wide concentration range by small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and laser diffraction. The average separation distance between the CNCs and the average pitch of the chiral nematic phase were been determined over the entire isotropic–anisotropic biphasic region. The dependence of the twisting on the volume fraction was related to the increase in the magnitude of the repulsive interactions between the charged rods as the average separation distance decreases.(2) We will also present work the alignment of CNC in a suspension of CNC and lepidocrocite (Lp) nanoparticles using an external magnetic field. The details of the CNCs-Lp liquid crystalline phase were studied by Small Angle Neutron Scattering where contrast matching was been used to study the magnetic response of each component in the CNCs-Lp composite.
1. Hamley, I. W. Liquid Crystal Phase Formation by Biopolymers Soft Matter 2010, 6, 1863
2. C. Schütz, M. Agthe, A. B. Fall, K. Gordeyeva, V. Guccini, M. Salajková, T. S. Plivelic, J. P. F. Lagerwall, G. Salazar-Alvarez and L. Bergström, Langmuir, 2015, 31, 6507.