OSA's Digital Library

Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: Michael Duncan
  • Vol. 13, Iss. 6 — Mar. 21, 2005
  • pp: 2201–2209

Control of topological defects in microstructured liquid crystal cells

G. Vijaya Prakash, M. Kaczmarek, A. Dyadyusha, J.J. Baumberg, and G. D’Alessandro  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 13, Issue 6, pp. 2201-2209 (2005)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (459 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



We study how the propagation of light inside recently developed micro-structured cells, can be actively tuned by polarising the nanoscale defects in the nematic liquid crystals they contain. Our ‘planar-spherical’ cells are formed by assembling a planar and a gold-coated hemispherical micro-mirror. Optical reflection images of the back-reflected polarised light show a remarkable change of symmetry as a function of the voltage applied to the cell. Theoretical models of the alignment of the liquid crystal within the cell indicate that the constraints imposed on the liquid crystal by the cell geometry and by the applied electric field induces the formation of defects. Their motion under the effect of the applied electric field is responsible for the change of symmetry of the back-reflected light. Furthermore, experimental measurements of the relaxation time of the back-reflected intensity indicate that the motion of the defect in our micro-structured cells is much faster than in equivalent planar cells.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(160.3710) Materials : Liquid crystals
(230.3990) Optical devices : Micro-optical devices
(240.0240) Optics at surfaces : Optics at surfaces
(310.6860) Thin films : Thin films, optical properties

ToC Category:
Research Papers

Original Manuscript: February 7, 2005
Revised Manuscript: March 14, 2005
Published: March 21, 2005

G. Vijaya Prakash, M. Kaczmarek, A. Dyadyusha, J. J. Baumberg, and G. D'Alessandro, "Control of topological defects in microstructured liquid crystal cells," Opt. Express 13, 2201-2209 (2005)

Sort:  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. G. P. Crawford and S. Žumer, eds., Liquid Crystals in Complex Geometries (Taylor & Francis, London, 1996).
  2. J. H. Erdmann, S. Žumer, and J. W. Doane, �??Configuration Transition in a Nematic Liquid Crystal Confined to a Small Spherical Cavity,�?? Phys. Rev. Lett. 64, 1907�??1910 (1990). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. V. Yu Reshetnyak, T. J. Sluckin, and S. J. Cox, �??Effective medium theory of polymer dispersed liquid crystal droplet systems: II. Partially oriented bipolar droplets,�?? J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 30, 3253�??3266 (1997). [CrossRef]
  4. W. Y. Li and S. H. Chen, �??Simulation of normal anchoring nematic droplets under electrical fields,�?? Jap. J. Appl. Phys. 1 38, 1482�??1487 (1999). [CrossRef]
  5. M. Abbate, P. Mormile, E. Martuscelli, P. Musto, L. Petti, G. Ragosta, and P. Villano, �??PDLC based on unsaturated polyester resins: molecular, morphological and thermo-optical analysis,�?? J. Mat. Sci. 35, 999�??1008 (2000). [CrossRef]
  6. S. C. Sharma, L. Zhang, A. J. Tapiawala, and P. C. Jain, �??Evidence for droplet riorientation and interfacial charges in a plymer-dispersed liquid-crystal cell,�?? Phys. Rev. Lett. 87, 105501(4) (2001). [CrossRef]
  7. O. Lavrentovich, �??Topological defects in dispersed liquid crystals, or words and worlds around liquid crystal drops,�?? Liq. Crys. 24, 117�??125 (1998). [CrossRef]
  8. A. Fernández-Nieves, D. R. Link, D. Rudhardt, and D. A.Weitz, �??Electro-Optics of Bipolar Nematic Liquid Crystal Droplets,�?? Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 105503(4) (2004). [CrossRef]
  9. T. Yamaguchi, Y. Kawata, and Y. Mori, �??Boundary condition effects on field-induced deformation modes in polymer dispersed liquid crystals,�?? Appl. Phys. Lett. 72, 1170�??2 (1998). [CrossRef]
  10. P. Mach, P. Wiltzius, M. Megens, D. A. Weitz, K. H. Lin, T. C. Lubensky, and A. G. Yodh1, �??Electro-optic response and switchable Bragg diffraction for liquid crystals in colloid-templated materials,�?? Phys. Rev. E 65, 031720(3) (2002). [CrossRef]
  11. D. W. Berreman, �??Solid Surface Shape and the Alignment of an Adjacent Nematic Liquid Crystal,�?? Phys. Rev. Lett. 28, 1683�??1686 (1972). [CrossRef]
  12. C. Rosenblatt, �??Nanostructured surfaces: Scientific and optical device applications,�?? Mol. Crys. Liq. Crys. 412, 1727�??1744 (2004). [CrossRef]
  13. T. Pfohl, J. H. Kim, M. Yasa, H. P. Miller, G. C. L. Wong, F. Bringezu, Z. Wen, L. Wilson, M. W. Kim, Y. Li, and C. R. Safinya, �??Controlled Modification of Microstructured Silicon Surfaces for Confinement of Biological Macromolecules and Liquid Crystals,�?? Langmuir 17, 5343�??5351 (2001). [CrossRef]
  14. M. Ibn-Elhaj and M. Schadt, �??Optical polymer thin films with isotropic and anisotropic nano-corrugated surface topologies,�?? Nature 410, 796�??799 (2001). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  15. R. Penterman, S. I. Klink, H. de Koning, G. Nisato, and D. J. Broer, �??Single-substrate liquid-crystal displays by photo-enforced stratification,�?? Nature 417, 55�??58 (2002). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  16. C. Schuller, F. Klopf, J. P. Reithmaier, M. Kamp, and A. Forchel, �??Tunable photonic crystals fabricated in III-V semiconductor slab waveguides using infiltrated liquid crystals,�?? Appl. Phys. Lett. 82, 2767�??9 (2003). [CrossRef]
  17. G. Mertens, T. Rošder, R. Schweins, K. Huber, and H. Kitzerow, �??Shift of the photonic band gap in two photonic crystal liquid crystal composites,�?? Appl. Phys. Lett. 80, 1885�??1887 (2002). [CrossRef]
  18. G. Vijaya Prakash, L. Besombes, T. Kelf, J. J. Baumberg, P. N. Bartlett, and M. E. Abdelsalam, �??Tunable resonant optical microcavities by self-assembled templating,�?? Opt. Lett. 29, 1500�??2 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  19. S. Coyle, G. V. Prakash, J. J. Baumberg, M. Abdelsalem, and P. N. Bartlett, �??Spherical micromirrors from templated self-assembly: Polarization rotation on the micron scale,�?? Appl. Phys. Lett. 83, 767�??769 (2003). [CrossRef]
  20. A. Sonnet, A. Kilian, and S. Hess, �??Alignement tensor versus director: Description of defects in nematic liquid crystals,�?? Phys. Rev. E 52, 718�??722 (1995). [CrossRef]
  21. P. G. de Gennes and J. Prost, The physics of liquid crystals, 2nd ed. (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1993).
  22. R. Barberi, F. Ciuchi, G. E. Durand, M. Iovane, D. Sikharulidze, A. M. Sonnet, and E. G. Virga, �??Electric field induced order reconstructionin a nematic cell,�?? Eur. Phys. J. E 13, 61�??71 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  23. C. Greenough, �??The finite element library (felib),�?? (2001). URL <a href= "http://www.cse.clrc.ac.uk/msw/felib/felib-top.shtml">http://www.cse.clrc.ac.uk/msw/felib/felib-top.shtml</a>.
  24. Liquicoat PA ZLI-3334 0.2% solution in ethanol (Merck).
  25. T. G. Sokolovska, R. O. Sokolovskii, and G. N. Patey, �??Surface-induced ordering of nematics in an external field: The stong influence of tilted walls,�?? Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 185508(4) (2004). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited