A Facile Stratification-Enabled Emergent Hyper-Reflectivity in Cholesteric Liquid Crystals

Wei, Qunmei, Lv, Pengrong, Zhang, Yang, Zhang, Jiwen, Qin, Zhuofan, T. de Haan, Laurens, Chen, Jiawen, Wang, Ding, Xu, Bin, Broer, Dirk J., Zhou, Guofu, Ding, Liming and Zhao, Wei (2022) A Facile Stratification-Enabled Emergent Hyper-Reflectivity in Cholesteric Liquid Crystals. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 14 (51202). pp. 57235-57243. ISSN 1944-8244

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1021/acsami.2c16938


Cholesteric liquid crystals (CLCs) are chiral photonic materials with selective reflection in terms of wavelength and polarization. Helix engineering is often required in order to produce desired properties for CLC materials to be employed for beam steering, light diffraction, scattering, adaptive or broadband reflection. Here, we demonstrate a novel photopolymerization-enforced stratification (PES)-based strategy to realize helix engineering in a chiral CLC system with initially one handedness of molecular rotation throughout the layer. PES plays a crucial role to drive the chiral dopant bundle consisting of two chiral dopants of opposite handedness to spontaneously phase separate, and create a CLC bilayer structure that reflects left- and right-handed circularly polarized light (CPL). The initially hidden chiral information therefore becomes explicit, and hyper-reflectivity, i.e., reflecting both left- and right-handed CPL, successfully emerges from the designed CLC mixture. The PES mechanism can be applied to structure a wide range of liquid crystal (LC) and polymer materials. Moreover, the engineering strategy enables facile programming of the center wavelength of hyper-reflection, patterning, and incorporating stimuli-responsiveness in the optical device. Hence, the engineered hyper-reflective CLCs offers great promises for future applications, such as digital displays, lasing, optical storage, and smart windows.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: The authors want to thank Dr. Albert P.H.J. Schenning, Dr. Danqing Liu for useful discussions. This work was supported financially by National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2020YFE0100200), Science and Technology Program of Guangzhou (No. 2019050001), Special Projects in Key Areas of Guangdong Provincial Department of Education (No. 2020ZDZX2064), Program for Chang Jiang Scholars and Innovative Research Teams in Universities (No. IRT17R40), Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Optical Information Materials and Technology (No. 2017B030301007), Industry-University-Research Cooperation Project of Zhuhai City (No. ZH22017001200043PWC), MOE International Laboratory for Optical Information Technologies, the 111 Project and Yunnan expert workstation (No. 202005AF150028).
Uncontrolled Keywords: Photopolymerization-enforced stratification, phase separation, hyper-reflectivity, cholesteric liquid crystals, chiral dopant bundle
Subjects: F200 Materials Science
F300 Physics
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mechanical and Construction Engineering
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2022 14:43
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2023 03:30
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/50899

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