Photo-induced alignment in polymer films
Currently, alignment films for use in liquid crystal displays are produced via a mechanical rubbing process. The dust produced by mechanical rubbing along with problems due to friction and uneven roller pressure lead to defects in the display. Therefore a novel method for aligning polymers films by irradiation with polarised light has been attempted. Anisotropy introduced into the films by selective irradiation affects liquid crystal alignment. The polymers used in this study are poly (vinyl cinnamate), poly (9- anthraceneoate ethyl methacrylate) and poly (p-azidobenzoate ethyl methacrylate). Poly (vinyl cinnamate) is a classical photoresist polymer which undergoes a [2+2] photocycloaddition in the presence of UV light. Poly (9-anthraceneoate ethyl methacrylate) and poly (p-azidobenzoate ethyl methacrylate) are both novel polymers which have the potential to undergo photo-crosslinking reactions. Poly (9-anthraceneoate ethyl methacrylate) contains an anthracene-terminated side chain which dimerises under the influence of UV light introducing anisotropy into the system. Poly (p-azidobenzoate ethyl methacrylate) contains an azido group which when irradiated with polarised light loses nitrogen to yield nitrenes which can combine to form azobenzene species. UV spectroscopy, infrared dichroism studies, birefringence measurements and fabrication of a simple liquid crystal cell show that poly (vinyl cinnamate) and poly (9-anthraceneoate ethyl methacrylate) undergo selective photoreaction. Poly (p- azidobenzoate ethyl methacrylate) is shown to undergo reaction but not to give the desired products.