We report the design of an amphiphilic polyamine (polymer 1) based on poly(2-alkenyl azlactone) that strongly couples the formation of polyelectrolyte complexes at aqueous/liquid crystal (LC) interfaces to ordering transitions in the LC. We demonstrate that the addition of a strong anionic polyelectrolyte to aqueous solutions in contact with polymer 1-laden LC interfaces (prepared by Langmuir-Schaefer transfer of monolayers of polymer 1 onto micrometerthick films of nematic LC) triggers ordering transitions in the LCs. We further demonstrate that changes in the ordering of the LCs (i) are driven by electrostatic interactions between the polyelectrolytes, (ii) involve multivalent interactions between the polyelectrolytes, and (iii) are triggered by reorganization of the hydrophobic side chains of amphiphilic polymer 1 upon formation of the interfacial complexes. The results presented in this paper lead us to conclude that ordering transitions in LCs can be used to provide insights into the structure and dynamics of interfacial complexes formed between polyelectrolytes.
Kinsinger, Michael I.; Buck, Maren E.; Campos, Fernando; Lynn, David M.; and Abbott, Nicholas L., "Dynamic Ordering Transitions of Liquid Crystals Driven by Interfacial Complexes Formed Between Polyanions and Amphiphilic Polyamines" (2008). Chemistry: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.