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Research Activities: Dr. Ahipa T N

Luminescent liquid crystals (LC) are fascinating materials of scientific and technological interest due to their wide ranging applications. Heterocyclic mesogens are an important class of LC materials as the nature, size and shape of the heterocyclic portion is under synthetic control, thereby imparting lateral and/or longitudinal dipoles and specific LC behaviour.

Against this background, our present research is on the design of new luminescent liquid crystalcompounds comprising of an electron deficient N-heterocyclic unit, with varying polar substituentsincluding alkoxy chains as terminal substituents.The newly-designed compounds will be synthesized using well-established synthetic routes and proven purification steps. Their molecular structures will be determined using FTIR,NMR, Mass spectral and SCXRD studies. Further, their liquid crystalline properties will beinvestigated by polarized optical microscopy (POM), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC)and powder X-ray diffractometry (PXRD) studies. Furthermore, thermal properties will beevaluated by TGA studies, while photo-physical properties will be determined using UV-visibleand fluorescence emission spectroscopy, followed by investigation of theirelectrochemical and optical band-gaps. In addition, surface morphology studies of thincoatings will be carried out using TEM, SEM and AFM, in order to understand their filmforming ability and molecular alignment.Later, the compounds will be studied in the context of photovoltaic device fabrication by mixing with a commonly-used P3HT:PCBM photoactive layer, to eventually achieve high powerconversion efficiencies (PCE).

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