Lattice-patterned LC-polymer composites containing various nanoparticles as additives
1 Green Energy Research Division, DGIST, 50-1 Sang-ri, Hyeonpung-myeon, Dalseong-gun, Daegu, 711-873, Republic of Korea
2 Division of Advanced Materials Engineering, Kongju National University, 275 Budae-dong, Cheonan, Chungnam, 331-717, Republic of Korea
Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:46 doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-46Published: 5 January 2012
In this study, we show the effect of various nanoparticle additives on phase separation behavior of a lattice-patterned liquid crystal [LC]-polymer composite system and on interfacial properties between the LC and polymer. Lattice-patterned LC-polymer composites were fabricated by exposing to UV light a mixture of a prepolymer, an LC, and SiO2 nanoparticles positioned under a patterned photomask. This resulted in the formation of an LC and prepolymer region through phase separation. We found that the incorporation of SiO2 nanoparticles significantly affected the electro-optical properties of the lattice-patterned LC-polymer composites. This effect is a fundamental characteristic of flexible displays. The electro-optical properties depend on the size and surface functional groups of the SiO2 nanoparticles. Compared with untreated pristine SiO2 nanoparticles, which adversely affect the performance of LC molecules surrounded by polymer walls, SiO2 nanoparticles with surface functional groups were found to improve the electro-optical properties of the lattice-patterned LC-polymer composites by increasing the quantity of SiO2 nanoparticles. The surface functional groups of the SiO2 nanoparticles were closely related to the distribution of SiO2 nanoparticles in the LC-polymer composites, and they influenced the electro-optical properties of the LC molecules. It is clear from our work that the introduction of nanoparticles into a lattice-patterned LC-polymer composite provides a method for controlling and improving the composite's electro-optical properties. This technique can be used to produce flexible substrates for various flexible electronic devices.