Self-assembling properties of liquid crystalline molecules and their unique electro-optical properties have been known for many years and have been applied for example in displays, monitors, and different measuring or detecting devices. Research of liquid crystals has a long tradition in the Department of Dielectrics. Recently, the research has been concentrated on new aspects of self-assembling process of organic molecules with various shapes, spamming from rod-like to hockey-stick and bent-core, to answer still open questions concerning the relationship among polarity, chirality and symmetry. Apart from studies of traditional electro-optical properties, we try to incorporate multifunctionality into the molecular structure, for example photosensitivity and luminescence, or to prepare all-organic paramagnetic compounds.
The research activities of the group have an interdisciplinary character, including organic and inorganic chemistry, technology and different fields of physics (condensed matter in general, namely ferroelectricity and magnetism, optics and electro-optics), touching a borderline with biology and medicine. On the photo, team members from the Liquid crystals group are accompanied with collaborating members from Department of Chemistry.
Liquid crystals seem to be ideal candidates for preparation of new hybrid systems combining functionalities of nanoparticles with self-organization ability of liquid crystalline molecules. We are preparing and studying various types of hybrid systems with nanoparticles, based not only on liquid crystalline molecules, but also polymers, elastomers, and gels. Interaction between nanoparticles and liquid crystalline molecules strongly depends on combination of different factors, as character, dimension and shape of nanoparticles and molecular structure and elasticity. We optimize the composition of studied liquid crystalline compounds and hybrid systems with respect to their physical properties (ferroelectric, magnetic, optical etc.)