Two series of UV-curable rod-like diacrylates containing bis-tolane (M1-M5) and bis-stilbene (M6-M10) mesogens were synthesized. All of the diacrylates were prepared through convergent syntheses involving palladium-catalysed coupling reactions. The thermal transitions and mesomorphic properties of the diacrylates were characterized by differential scanning calorimetry and optical microscopy. All the bis-tolane-based monomers reveal nematic phases, except M5 which shows no mesomorphic behaviour. For the bis-stilbene based monomers, most show no mesomorphic behavior and only M7 and M9 exhibit a SmA phase.