Lyotropic Liquid Crystals (LLCs) are self-assembled surfactant-solvent systems capable of forming a range of mesophases (micelles, micellar cubic, bicontinuous cubic, hexagonal, lamellar) depending on the concentration of the amphiphillic species (Figure 1A). This self-assembly can be used as a template to obtain nanostructured polymers (Figure 1B). However, the use of this technique to create structured polymers is limited as a result of poor nanostructure retention following polymerization. In our work, we investigate photopolymerization as a means of preparing LLC templated polymeric materials. In comparison to other methods of polymerization, photopolymerization are temperature independent and typically occur at rapid rates. Based on these advantages, we have examined the use of photopolymerization in the preparation of LLC templated materials for applications in medicine, separations, and electrochemistry (Figure 1C)
Figure 1. Schematic displaying A) LLC phases, B) LLC templating photopolymerization, and C) Example applications of LLC templated polymers.