Discotic Liquid Crystals: From Tailor-Made Synthesis to Plastic Electronics



Most associate liquid crystals with their everyday use in laptop computers, mobile phones, digital cameras, and other electronic devices. However, in contrast to their rodlike (calamitic) counterparts, first described in 1907 by Vorländer, disklike (discotic, columnar) liquid crystals, which were discovered in 1977 by Chandrasekhar et al., offer further applications as a result of their orientation in the columnar mesophase, making them ideal candidates for molecular wires in various optical and electronic devices such as photocopiers, laser printers, photovoltaic cells, light-emitting diodes, field-effect transistors, and holographic data storage. Beginning with an overview of the various mesophases and characterization methods, this Review will focus on the major classes of columnar mesogens rather than presenting a library of columnar liquid crystals. Emphasis will be given to efficient synthetic procedures, and relevant mesomorphic and physical properties. Finally, some applications and perspectives in materials science and molecular electronics will be discussed.