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Matched elastic constants for a perfect helical planar state and a fast switching time in chiral nematic liquid crystals

Research paper by Meina Yu, Xiaochen Zhou, Jinghua Jiang, Huai Yang, Deng-Ke Yang

Indexed on: 27 Apr '16Published on: 13 Apr '16Published in: Soft Matter



Abstract

Chiral nematic liquid crystals possess a self-assembled helical structure and exhibit unique selective reflection in visible and infrared light regions. Their optical properties can be electrically tuned. The tuning involves the unwinding and restoring of the helical structure. We carried out an experimental study on the mechanism of the restoration of the helical structure. We constructed chiral nematic liquid crystals with variable elastic constants by doping bent-dimers and studied their impact on the restoration. With matched twist and bend elastic constants, the helical structure can be restored dramatically fast from the field-induced homeotropic state. Furthermore, defects can be eliminated to produce a perfect planar state which exhibits high selective reflection.

Graphical abstract 10.1039/C6SM00546B.gif