New Modular Calamitic Ligands for Self-Assembly of Thermostable Quantum Dot Microcapsules via Nematic Templating

The design, synthesis, properties, and performance of a new class of promesogenic calamitic side-tethering organic ligands used to direct quantum dot nanoparticle self-assembly via nematic templating are described. This work was motivated by inadequate modularity, step count, and yield associated with syntheses of existing ligands. Attaching the new ligands to quantum dots and dispersing them in a liquid crystal host affords hollow micron-sized capsules via nematic templating. The capsules resist thermal decomposition up to 350 °C — significantly higher than any previously reported microcapsules assembled from side-tethering calamitic ligand-functionalized nanoparticle. Evaluation of the capsules by small-angle X-ray scattering shows that interparticle spacing varies from 10–13 nm depending on the ligand used, and is correlated to aminoalkyl chain length.