Changing Liquid Crystal Helical Pitch with a Reversible Rotaxane Switch

Sujun Chen, Nathalie Katsonis, David Leigh, Manee Patanapongpibul, Alexander Ryabchun, Liang Zhang

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The transmission of chiral information between the molecular, meso and microscopic scales is a facet of biology that remains challenging to understand mechanistically and to mimic with artificial systems. Here we demonstrate that the dynamic change in the expression of the chirality of a rotaxane can be transduced into a change in pitch of a soft matter system. Shuttling the position of the macrocycle from far-away-from to close-to a point-chiral center on the rotaxane axle changes the expression of the chiral information that is transmitted across length scales; from nanometer scale constitutional chirality that affects the conformation of the macrocycle, to the centimeter scale chirality of the liquid crystal phase, significantly changing the pitch length of the chiral nematic structure.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAngewandte Chemie International Edition
Early online date6 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Mar 2024


  • rotaxanes
  • Soft matter
  • Molecular Switch
  • Mechanical Bond
  • Liquid crystal


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