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Manipulating the alignment of liquid crystals (LCs) is a hot and fundamental issue for their applications in block copolymers, photonics, actuators, biosensors, and liquid-crystal displays. Here, the surface characteristic of Cu2O nanocrystals was well controlled to manipulate the orientation of the LCs. The mechanism of the orientation of the LCs induced by Cu2O nanocrystals was elucidated based on the interaction between the LCs and Cu2O nanocrystals. To comprehensively prove our assumption, different types of LCs (nematic, cholesteric, and smectic) as well as the same type of LCs with different polarities were selected in our system. Moreover, the photomechanical behaviors of the LC polymer composites demonstrated that the alignment of LCs can be effectively manipulated using Cu2O nanocrystals.

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Publication history

Received: 26 February 2016
Revised: 09 May 2016
Accepted: 10 May 2016
Published: 15 June 2016
Issue date: September 2016

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© Tsinghua University Press and Springer‐Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

This work was mainly supported by National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2014CB931802), the Major Project of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Science and Technology (No. 2013DFB50340), National Natural Science Foundations of China (Nos. 51272012, 21471013, 51532001, 51333001, 51173003, 51402006 and 51303007), the Major Program of Chinese Ministry of Education (No. 313002), the Beijing Natural Science Foundation (No. 2163052) and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation Funded Project (No. 2015M570916).

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Email: nanores@tup.tsinghua.edu.cn

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