Liquid crystal functionalization of electrospun polymer fibers


Correspondence to: J. P. F. Lagerwall (E-mail:


A recently introduced new branch of applied polymer science is the production of highly functional and responsive fiber mats by means of electrospinning polymers that include liquid crystals. The liquid crystal, which provides the responsiveness, is most often contained inside fibers of core-sheath geometry, produced via coaxial electrospinning, but it may also be inherent to the polymer itself, for example, in case of liquid crystal elastomers. The first experiments served as proof of concept and to elucidate the basic behavior of the liquid crystal in the fibers, and the field is now ripe for more applied research targeting novel devices, in particular in the realm of wearable technology. In this perspective, we provide a bird's eye view of the current state of the art of liquid crystal electrospinning, as well as of some relevant recent developments in the general electrospinning and liquid crystal research areas, allowing us to sketch a picture of where this young research field and its applications may be heading in the next few years. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part B Polym. Phys. 2013, 51, 855–867