Research Highlights | Published:

Materials science: Conductors with a twist

Nature volume 459, page 13 (07 May 2009) | Download Citation


Discotic liquid crystals are flat-cored organic molecules that stack in twisting, electron-conducting columns. They are used in photovoltaics and field-effect transistors. The best discotic species currently in use make stacks with a twist angle of 30°, but calculations show 60° to be optimal for conduction.

Klaus Müllen and Denis Andrienko of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, and their colleagues have synthesized a new molecule with a 60° twist. This doubled electron mobility, and through molecular dynamics simulations, the authors show that removing defects in the stacking structure could push that value higher.

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