• C K S Pillai

      Articles written in Pramana – Journal of Physics

    • Influence of hydrogen bonding on the generation and stabilization of liquid crystalline polyesters, poly(esteramide)s and polyacrylates

      C K S Pillai K Y Sandhya J D Sudha M Saminathan

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      Induction and stabilization of liquid crystallinity through hydrogen bonding (HB) are now well-established. Interesting observations made on the influence of HB on LC behaviour of amido diol-based poly(esteramide)s, poly(esteramide)s containing nitro groups and azobenzene mesogen-based polyacrylates will be discussed. The use of amido diol as an important precursor for the synthesis of novel PEAs containing inbuilt di-amide linkage enabled generation of extensive hydrogen bondings between the amide-amide and amide-ester groups which stabilized the mesophase structures of the PEAs. The contributions of hydrogen bonding to the generation and stabilization of mesophase structures were plainly evident from the observation of liquid crystallinity even in PEAs prepared from fully aliphatic amido diols. Replacement of terephthaloyl units by isophthaloyl moiety totally vanquished liquid crystalline phases while biphenylene and naphthalene units did only reduce the transition temperatures as expected. The occurrence of the smectic phases in some of the polymers indicated possibly self-assembly through the formation of hetero intermolecular hydrogen bonded networks. A smectic polymorphism and in addition, a smectic-to-nematic transition, were observed in the monomers and polymers based on 1,4-phenylene[bis-(3-nitroanthranilidic acid)] containing nitro groups. A smectic polymorphism was also observed as a combined effect of hydrogen bonded carboxyl groups and laterally substituted alkyl side chains in the case of azobenzene mesogen containing side chain polyacrylates. It was further shown that the presence of the mesophase enhances the non-linear optical (NLO) response of these polymers.

    • Investigations on the liquid crystalline phases of cation-induced condensed DNA

      C K S Pillai Neethu Sundaresan M Radhakrishnan Pillai T Thomas T J Thomas

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      Viral and nonviral condensing agents are used in gene therapy to compact oligonucleotides and plasmid DNA into nanostructures for their efficient transport through the cell membranes. Whereas viral vectors are best by the toxic effects on the immune system, most of the nonviral delivery vehicles are not effective for use in clinical system. Recent investigations indicate that the supramolecular organization of DNA in the condensed state is liquid crystalline. The present level of understanding of the liquid crystalline phase of DNA is inadequate and a thorough investigation is required to understand the nature, stability, texture and the influence of various environmental conditions on the structure of the phase. The present study is mainly concerned with the physicochemical investigations on the liquid crystalline transitions during compaction of DNA by cationic species such as polyamines and metallic cations. As a preliminary to the above investigation, studies were conducted on the evolution of mesophase transitions of DNA with various cationic counterion species using polarized light microscopy. These studies indicated significant variations in the phase behaviour of DNA in the presence of Li and other ions. Apart from the neutralization of the charges on the DNA molecule, these ions are found to influence selectively the hydration sphere of DNA that in turn influences the induction and stabilization of the LC phases. The higher stability observed with the liquid crystalline phases of Li-DNA system could be useful in the production of nanostructured DNA. In the case of the polyamine, a structural specificity effect depending on the nature, charge and structure of the polyamine used has been found to be favoured in the crystallization of DNA.

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