New type of twisted mesophase in jellies and solid films of chiral 12-hydroxyoctadecanoic acid


SOME optically active substances are known to form a unique state of matter, the twisted mesophase, in which a supramolecular helical structure gives rise to some striking optical phenomena1. This type of structure was first found in melts of single compounds and later in solutions of some biopolymers. The only lyotropic twisted mesophases reported so far are the cholesteric (twisted nematic) type. However, we describe here a new type, found in the thermally-reversible jellies formed by chiral 12-hydroxyoctadecanoic acid (12HOA) with CC14 or aromatic solvents; solid films obtained by drying the jellies on quartz supports retained the twisted structure. Microscopy and circular dichroism (CD) indicated that this mesophase had a supramolecular helical structure, and X-ray examination of the dried solid films indicated that it was not a nematic type, but probably smectic.

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TACHIBANA, T., MORI, T. & HORI, K. New type of twisted mesophase in jellies and solid films of chiral 12-hydroxyoctadecanoic acid. Nature 278, 578–579 (1979).

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