Phase structures and self-assembled helical suprastructures via hydrogen bonding in a series of achiral 4-biphenyl carboxylic acid compounds

Kwang Un Jeong, Shi Jin, Jason J. Ge, Brian S. Knapp, Matthew J. Graham, Jr-Jeng Ruan, Mingming Guo, Huiming Xiong, Frank W. Harris, Stephen Z.D. Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


A series of achiral 4-biphenyl carboxylic acid compounds (BPCA-Cn-PmOH) connected with alkoxyl chains having various carbon numbers (n = 6-10) and terminated by phenyl groups with meta-positioned hydroxyl groups was synthesized. Different phase structures including nematic, smectic A (SmA), smectic C (SmC), and highly ordered smectic liquid-crystalline phases along with crystalline phases were identified based on wide-angle X-ray diffraction and electron diffraction experiments. It was found via infrared spectroscopy that the hydrogen (H)-bonds were formed between the carboxylic acids to construct head-to-head dimers as the building blocks for these ordered structural formations. W-bonds formed via the meta-positioned hydroxyl groups also played an important role in forming ordered layers in these structures. The morphology of this series of BPCA-Cn-PmOH as observed under polarized light microscopy showed an oily streak (cylinder) texture with Myelin-figure in the SmA phase. When temperature cools to enter the SmC phase, these streaks (cylinders) started to twist into helical suprastructures, which were not only by the birefringence changes but also by the three-dimensional helical geometry observed in other microscopic techniques. The dynamic conformational changes of the aromatic and aliphatic parts in this series of BPCA-Cn-PmOH at different temperatures correspond well with the thermal transitions via solid-state carbon-13 nuclear magnetic resonance experiments. Computer simulation indicated that the head-to-head dimers possess a twisted rather than a bent conformation. It was deduced that the twisted conformation of the dimers and the terminal meta-substituted phenyl groups at both ends of the dimers are critically important in forming the helical suprastructures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2852-2865
Number of pages14
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2005 May 31

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Phase structures and self-assembled helical suprastructures via hydrogen bonding in a series of achiral 4-biphenyl carboxylic acid compounds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this