Liquid crystalline oligomers derived from cholesterol: synthesis and columnar mesomorphism

The novel columnar liquid crystals based on symmetric hairpin-shaped cholesterol tetramers bridged by rigid or hydrogen-bonding Schiff-base spacers were prepared by reacting cholesterol dimer with phenylenediamines or dihydrazides in yields of 70–85%. Structural characterisation of these new compounds had been achieved by infrared, nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry. Their mesomorphic properties were investigated by polarising optical microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry and X-ray diffraction. They exhibited good hexagonal columnar mesophase with three molecules in a disc of the columnar hexagonal state. This study implied that the symmetric cholesterol tetramers with rigid cores or hydrogen-bonding cores prefer to columnar mesophase.