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See detailSub-second dynamic phototuning of alignment in azodendrimer-doped nematic liquid crystal shells
Noh, Junghyun UL; Jampani, Venkata UL; Haba, Osamu et al

in Journal of Molecular Liquids (2018), 267

The alignment of nematic liquid crystal 5CB in micron-thick shells, suspended in and containing aqueous liquid phases, can be rapidly switched between radial (homeotropic) and tangential (planar) director ... [more ▼]

The alignment of nematic liquid crystal 5CB in micron-thick shells, suspended in and containing aqueous liquid phases, can be rapidly switched between radial (homeotropic) and tangential (planar) director field by doping them with a photoresponsive dendrimer with multiple azobenzene moieties in the branches. The dendrimer spontaneously segregates to the inner as well as outer shell interfaces, folding into an amphiphilic conformation irrespective of the sign of interface curvature. The branches are directed into the liquid crystal, inducing a homeotropic ground state. Upon UV irradiation, the trans-cis isomerization of azobenzene triggers immediate switching to planar alignment. The very fast realignment and the simultaneous response throughout the shell leads to an initially random planar director field, with many topological defects of both positive and negative signs becoming visible within a second of irradiation. All but two +1 defects quickly annihilate, and the remaining defect pair moves up towards the thinnest part of the shell to form the planar steady state. By illuminating with visible light the homeotropic alignment is quickly recovered. By exchanging the solvent used for assisting the dendrimer dissolution, also dynamic phase separation phenomena can be studied in the shells, revealing that the dendrimer solubility in 5CB is greater in the UV-induced cis state than in the trans ground state. [less ▲]

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