Advanced Functional Materials, Vol.26, No.16, 2609-2616, 2016
Patterning of Soft Matter across Multiple Length Scales
Controlling the organization of functional supramolecular materials at both short and long length scales as well as creating hierarchical patterns is essential for many biological and electrooptical applications. It remains however an extremely challenging objective to date, particularly in water-based systems. In this work, it is demonstrated that water-processable self-assembling materials can be organized from micrometers to centimeters in any direction using liquid crystal templating in combination with photoaddressable command layers. The structural assemblies that are prepared are readily transformed into optically active pi-conjugated polymers after photopolymerization. After this step, the template may be removed to leave the functional material well-organized on the substrate. The advantage of this approach is that it lacks specific molecular interactions and uses simple techniques such as spin coating and photoillumination and it may therefore be applied to a wide range of (aqueous) materials.