All-Aqueous Bicontinuous Structured Liquid Crystal Emulsion through Intraphase Trapping of Cellulose Nanoparticles

Shasha Guo, Han Tao, Guang Gao, Sameer Mhatre, Yi Lu, Ayako Takagi, Jun Li, Lihuan Mo, Orlando J. Rojas*, Guang Chu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
50 Downloads (Pure)


Here, we describe the all-aqueous bicontinuous emulsions with cholesteric liquid crystal domains through hierarchical colloidal self-assembly of nanoparticles. This is achieved by homogenization of a rod-like cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) with two immiscible, phase separating polyethylene glycol (PEG) and dextran polymer solutions. The dispersed CNCs exhibit unequal affinity for the binary polymer mixtures that depends on the balance of osmotic and chemical potential between the two phases. Once at the critical concentration, CNC particles are constrained within one component of the polymer phases and self-assemble into a cholesteric organization. The obtained liquid crystal emulsion demonstrates a confined three-dimensional percolating bicontinuous network with cholesteric self-assembly of CNC within the PEG phase; meanwhile, the nanoparticles in the dextran phase remain isotropic instead. Our results provide an alternative way to arrest bicontinuous structures through intraphase trapping and assembling of nanoparticles, which is a viable and flexible route to extend for a wide range of colloidal systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-376
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Early online date8 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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