From selective to wide-band light reflection: a simple thermal diffusion in a glassy cholesteric liquid crystal
Centre d'Élaboration de
Matériaux et d'Études Structurales, CEMES, CNRS (UPR 8011) ,
B.P. 4347, 31055 Toulouse Cedex 4,
Published online: 15 April 1999
Due to their helicoidal structure, cholesteric liquid crystals exhibit remarkable optical properties. Selective light reflection occurs when the pitch (repeat distance) is of the order of the wavelength of incident light propagating along the helix axis. The wavelength bandwidth, due to the optical anisotropy, is typically limited to 50 nm which is insufficient for some applications (full-colors displays, for example). By introducing a pitch gradient in the helix during a novel two-step process in a cholesteric glass, we show that reflection may occur over a wavelength bandwidth greater than 300 nm. First, the reflection bandwidth is adjusted by thermal annealing. Then, the optical properties are permanently stored by quenching the viscous material to a glass at room temperature. The two steps, pitch gradient establishment and film hardening, are independently controlled. The present process exhibits some reversibility and properties intrinsic to the glassy state are gained: laser-writing high resolution full-color images on solid films for image recording or high-density optical data-storage are indeed conceivable.
PACS: 61.30.-v – Liquid crystals / 78.20.-e – Optical properties of bulk materials and thin films / 81.40.Tv – Optical and dielectric properties (related to treatment conditions)
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag, 1999