Observing a Moving Image of Liquid Crystal Molecules with a Temporal Resolution of a Trillionth of a Second – Establishing New Measuring and Analyzing Methods

November 30(Thu), 2017

For the first time ever, Masaki Hada, Assistant Professor, Yasuhiko Hayashi, Professor at the Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology at Okayama University, Shohei Saito, Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Science at Kyoto University, Yasuteru Shigeta, Professor at the Center for Computational Sciences at the University of Tsukuba, and Ken Onda, Professor at the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science at Kyushu University, among other researchers, succeeded in observing the motion of liquid crystal molecules that are widely used for industrial purposes such as displays. The observation and analysis method used by them was completely new and overturns all past theories, using ultraviolet light shined onto liquid crystal molecules to directly observe their movements.
The development of high-precision display materials to be used in many areas was expected to be feasible if the three-dimensional structure of liquid crystal molecules was defined and molecular motions that are the core functions of these molecules were understood. However, there was no existing method that directly analyzed the structure of high-speed dynamic behavior of the molecular framework buried in the carbon chains of liquid crystal. A new method of analyzing the motion of liquid crystal molecules had been long sought for.


The observation and analysis method used by the collaborative research team is a completely new method that overturns all past theories. The method combines time-resolved electron diffractometry and infrared spectroscopy to perform structural analysis and to directly observe the dynamic behavior of liquid crystal molecules. Excited-state aromaticity was observed in a time range of 1 to 100 picoseconds (1 picosecond is one trillionth of a second), and it was validated by theoretical calculations. This finding offers important knowledge in designing photoactive molecular materials. This research method is expected to revolutionize the method of observing photoresponsive and photoactive liquid crystal molecules and soft matter. Further applications using this method are also expected to be developed.

This research success was published in the “Journal of the American Chemical Society,” a journal issued by the American Chemical Society on October 16, 2017.


Article Information
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b08021
Authors: Masaki Hada*, Shohei Saito*, Sei’ichi Tanaka, Ryuma Sato, Masahiko Yoshimura, Kazuhiro Mouri, Kyohei Matsuo, Shigehiro Yamaguchi, Mitsuo Hara, Yasuhiko Hayashi, Fynn Röhricht, Rainer Herges, Yasuteru Shigeta*, Ken Onda*, R. J. Dwayne Miller
Journal:  Journal of the American Chemical Society
Title: Structural Monitoring of the Onset of Excited-State Aromaticity in a Liquid Crystal Phase
Year of Publication: 2017                                                                                                                    Volume: 139                                                                                                                                    Issue: 44

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liquid crystal molecules

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