Anchoring Behavior of Chiral Liquid Crystal at Polymer Surface: In Polymer Dispersed Chiral Liquid Crystal Films
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Chiral Liquid Crystals (CLCs) can selectively reflect light of a specific wavelength when the period of its helically twisted structure is appropriately chosen and white light propagates along the helical axis. This phenomenon makes CLCs attractive for reflective-color display, without the needs of backlighting, polarizers, or color filters. Polymer Dispersed Chiral Liquid Crystals (PDCLC) have been developed for reflective switchable, bistable color display. However they suffer from high external driving voltage, low reflectivity, and high cost in pretreatment of the substrates. The key to solve these problems is to understand and control the anchoring behavior of CLC at a polymer surface. This research has two purposes: to develop PDCLC films with high reflectivity and to investigate the factors affecting the anchoring behavior of CLC at the polymer surface of the film. Specifically, commercially available chiral dopant and nematic liquid crystals were carefully chosen to formulate the CLCs reflecting different color. These CLCs are mixed with various acrylate and methacrylate monomers respectively, and UV cured at varied conditions to obtain PDCLC films. The anchoring behavior of these films is characterized using polarized optical microscopy, confocal microscopy, and microscopic-spectrophotometer. The factors influencing the anchoring behavior include chemical structure of the monomers, effective diameter of individual cells in PDCLC, thickness of individual cells in PDCLC, and the pitch of CLC, among which the chemical structure of the monomers is the most important. The PDCLC film made with n-hexyl methacrylate is found to selectively reflect light with the reflectivity larger than that of pure CLC with the same pitch.