Liquid crystals have found applications in a range of devices, possibly the most well known of these are liquid crystal displays (LCDs) used in everything from calculators to TVs. Graphene oxide is the focus of much research due to its strong mechanical properties, chemical functionalization capability, and extremely large surface area. The combination of these two materials opens the possibility for new high-performance carbon materials or new device applications.
Sang Ouk Kim and co-workers, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, have prepared graphene oxide platelets with high polydispersities in their shapes and sizes. Aqueous dispersions of these platelets formed a nematic liquid crystal. The orientation of graphene oxide liquid crystals could be manipulated by a magnetic field or mechanical deformation.
The graphene oxide liquid crystals could be mass produced from naturally abundant graphite, offering a new route to high-performance nanocomposites.