The influence of UV light-induced pitch contraction and dilation on the electroconvection patterns (ECPs) of a chiral nematic liquid crystal containing a photoresponsive chiral dopant is investigated in planar-aligned cells. It is observed that the helical twisting power of the dopant changes (even undergoes handedness inversion) under UV irradiation; consequently, the pitch and the direction of the convection rolls in ECPs (being either parallel with or perpendicular to the surface alignment) could be controlled by the UV intensity and the ac voltage. In contrast to traditional methods, where the pitch is modulated by electric or thermal fields, our method of applying a light field allows a remote and contactless manipulation of the pitch, which is easily detectable via the morphological changes of ECPs. The ability to control the orientation of ECPs by tuning the light intensity can conveniently be utilized as an optical grating, allowing switchable, dual-mode operation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)