Optics of Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystals

L. Vicari, Istituto Nazionale per la Fisica della Materia, Univ. di Napoli "Federico II" Dip. Scienze Fisiche, Facoltà d'Ingegneria, Napoli, Italy.

Polymer dispersed liquid crystals (PDLC) are liquid crystal microdroplets dispersed in a polymeric binder. Optoelectronic films that switch from an opalescent to transparent state are commonly realized by them. Appropriate choices of materials and manufacturing procedures ensure that the liquid crystals in the film are in a nematic phase at room temperature and the molecules assume a bipolar orientation inside each droplet. Molecules are roughly parallel to a direction that is assumed as the droplet director. Droplets appear as optically uniaxial spheres, randomly oriented. Due to the refractive index mismatch with the surrounding medium, the droplets produce a strong light scattering when their size is close to the wavelength of visible light.

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