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Nanoplate Surfactants and Liquid Crystals
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Low-dimensional 2D materials, i.e., nanoplates, show exceptional properties such as high surface area/volume ratio that make these materials important for applications demanding high levels of surface/interface interactions at nanoscale. Despite significant advances of nanoplates in energy applications, the role of nanoplates in binary complex fluids (e.g., emulsions) or anisotropic fluids (e.g., liquid crystals) remains underexplored. In this dissertation, we developed various surface-engineered nanoplates and investigated their collective behaviors as colloid surfactants, liquid crystals, and active soft materials. 2D nanoplates have been synthesized for use in stabilizing oil-in-water emulsions and regulating molecular delivery systems, in which they can interact with large amounts of key molecules, allowing superior control over transport/diffusion kinetics. In addition, strongly anisotropic nanoplates have also been developed with tunable photonic bandgaps and corresponding iridescent colors across the full visible spectrum in colloidal suspensions. We envision that the control of self-assembly of 2D building blocks would enable bottom-up fabrication of emerging multifunctional soft materials for diverse applications including specialty surfactants, photonic sensors, pollutant removal, and smart delivery systems.
Zeng, Minxiang (2018). Nanoplate Surfactants and Liquid Crystals. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from