Prof. Ömer Dağ
Bilkent University, Department of Chemistry, Ankara, Turkey 06800
We are a research team at Bilkent University, Department of Chemistry working on the synthesis, characterization, and application of lyotropic liquid crystals and nanostructured/mesostructured materials.
Many salts can be used as a solvent to design new type of lyotropic liquid crystalline (LLC) mesophases. Since the discovery in 2001, the salt-surfactant LLC mesophases have been mostly investigated in my group. We also discovered that the salt melts in the hydrophilic domains of the mesophase and remain liquid down to -50 oC and lower, where it transform to a mesostructured solid. These unusual solvents can be transition (mostly 1st row), alkali (lithium salts) and alkaline earth (calcium and magnesium) metal salts. Depression of the melting point is due to the soft confinement effect that also enhances the solubility of the salts in the mesophases. We also use the salts-surfactant LLC mesophases to design mesoporous thin films. The process, called MASA (molten salt assisted self-assembly), is an important self-assembly process, which was introduced to the literature from our group. MASA is a new and also an effective method to produce mesoporous thin films composed of silica-metal oxides and metal titanates. We are currently working on a range of metal titanate to prove the concept and use these thin films as electrodes in variousenergy applications. The method can be expanded to include other sol-gel precursors.
The current highlights of our research are development of the MASA process for the synthesis of of mesoporous thin films, understanding the origin of the stability of the salt-surfactant LLC mesophases, and possible applications of these materials as electrode and gel-electrolytes.