Home > Soft Condensed Matter > Overview > Research Areas
Research Areas
Liquid Crystals
Amphiphilic Systems
Polymer Physics
Biological Physics
Physical Chemistry of Surfaces
• Vision
• Research Areas
• Major Instrumentation
• Members
• Publications
• PhD Students
Bent-core mesogens: The chemistry wing of the Soft Condensed Matter Group is involved in the synthesis and characterisation of mesomorphic banana-shaped or bent-core molecules. Over 700 such compounds have been synthesized and characterized. In addition to many novel mesophases, these compounds show interesting features such as spontaneous electric polarization, and chiral structures made up of achiral molecules. Several new liquid crystalline phases and phase sequences have also been achieved in our laboratory.

Discotic mesogens: Another major activity is the design, synthesis and characterisation of novel discotic liquid crystals that exhibit remarkable electronic and optoelectronic properties, including various monomeric, oligomeric, polymeric, and ionic liquid crystalline materials containing disc-like mesomorphic units. The synthesis of liquid crystalline materials using microwave heating has also been carried out with a view to find quick and environment-friendly synthetic routes.

Nanocomposites: The incorporation of nanomaterials like gold-nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes in the supramolecular order of liquid crystals is likely to lead to novel materials for many applications. Such nanocomposites have been prepared and are being characterized.

Physical Studies
The Group performs investigations into phase transitions, the structure and physical properties of thermotropic liquid crystals, and their mixtures. It also studies various types of topological defects and patterns in liquid crystals. Recent years have seen the discovery of several new liquid crystalline phases, such as the undulating twist grain boundary phase and the biaxial Smectic-A phase.

The laboratory is also interested in the study of instabilities and pattern formation in thermotropic liquid crystals under shear flow and/or external electric fields. Surface-induced effects in liquid crystals are also being explored. Another interesting aspect is the experimental investigation of liquid crystalline phases exhibited by bent-core molecules, which exhibit spontaneous chiral symmetry breaking.

Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs)
Research activities are directed towards the development of new addressing techniques to reduce power dissipation and hardware complexity of drive electronics in passive matrix Liquid Crystal Displays.