Anisotropic Ionic Mobility of Lithium Salts in Lamellar Liquid Crystalline Polymer Networks



New mesogens presenting smectic A (SmA) phases and capable of hosting lithium salts are designed. The mesogens comprise a vinyl-functionalized spacer to allow further reaction to the polymer backbone, an aromatic core and ethylene oxide chains, able to coordinate lithium ions. Copolymerizing these monomers with a suitable crosslinker yields the first lithium containing liquid crystalline elastomers (LCEs). The SmA structure where the ethylene oxide chains are microphase separated in layers is fixed by the crosslinking and permanent macroscopic orientation is obtained. Diffusion and conductivity measurements of the monomer sample show a large anisotropy of the ion mobility (100 for the cation and 400 for the anion). In the elastomer the anisotropy of the lithium mobility is comparable to that in the monomers.