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Smectic ordering in solutions and films of a rod-like polymer owing to monodispersity of chain length

Yu, Seungju M. and Conticello, Vincent P. and Zhang, Guanghui and Kayser, Christoph and Fournier, Maurille J. and Mason, Thomas L. and Tirrell, David A. (1997) Smectic ordering in solutions and films of a rod-like polymer owing to monodispersity of chain length. Nature, 389 (6647). pp. 167-170. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/38254.

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Solutions and melts of stiff ('rod-like') macromolecules often exhibit nematic liquid crystalline phases characterized by orientational, but not positional, molecular order. Smectic phases, in which macromolecular rods are organized into layers roughly perpendicular to the direction of molecular orientation, are rare, owing at least in part to the polydisperse nature (distribution of chain lengths) of polymers prepared by conventional polymerization processes. Bacterial methods for polypeptide synthesis, in which artificial genes encoding the polymer are expressed in bacterial vectors, offer the opportunity to make macromolecules with very well defined chain lengths. Here we show that a monodisperse derivative of poly(γ-benzyl α,L-glutamate) prepared in this way shows smectic ordering in solution and in films. This result suggests that methods for preparing monodisperse polymers might provide access to new smectic phases with layer spacings that are susceptible to precise control on the scale of tens of nanometres.

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Tirrell, David A.0000-0003-3175-4596
Additional Information:© 1997 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 6 March; accepted 25 June 1997. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at the University of Massachusetts.
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Issue or Number:6647
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150108-171140317
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:53443
Deposited By: Anne Hormann
Deposited On:29 Jan 2015 23:42
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 20:02

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