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Title: Liquid crystal blue phase for electro-optic displays
Author: Tian, Linan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 2381
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2014
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Liquid crystals are a vast and diverse class of materials which ranges from fluids made up of simple rods, polymers and solutions, to elastomers and biological organisms. Liquid crystal phases are neither crystalline, nor a ‘normal’ isotropic liquid, but lie somewhere in between these two common states of matter. Liquid crystals have found enormous use in display devices due to their electro-optic properties. In this thesis, the optical and electro-optical properties of some chiral liquid crystalline phases are studied. The optical and electro-optical behaviour of liquid crystalline blue phases has been investigated via a detailed analysis of the reflection spectrum from thin, vertical field (VF) cells. Spectral analysis in this thesis was performed using a numerical fitting technique based on the Berreman 4x4 matrix method. The validity of the technique was proved through comparisons of independent measurements with the calculated physical parameters. A novel Kerr effect measurement method was proposed in this thesis and a known material was used to verify this new method. The Kerr constant together with its dispersion relation was measured using a white light source. An unusually large Kerr constant, K, is determined in the blue phases of a non-polymer stabilized material, ~ 3x10-9 mV-2 (BPI). The large value of K is attributed to significant pre-transitional values of the dielectric anisotropy and birefringence. K follows an inverse dependence on temperature which is more marked in BPII than BPI, and we consequently suggest that the BPI demonstrates properties best suited to electro-optic devices. The field effects in blue phase include electrostriction and the influence of the Kerr effect was separated from electrostriction phenomena for the first time in this work. Finally in the Kerr effect measurements, the Kerr constant in the optically isotropic dark conglomerate phase of a bent-core material was studied for the first time, with rather low values, ~1x10-11 mV-2. The low Kerr constant can be understood in the context of the physical properties of the material. Supercooling phenomena in the blue phase were studied through an analysis of the optical properties in thin cells. Features including the Bragg reflection peak jump and hysteresis are measured through the reflection spectra. A blue phase sample with a single orientation over an area of millimeters was prepared to help the spectra study of the blue phases. Although some previous reports indicated that there may be a new blue phase in the supercooled region, we find that there is no evidence shows that the supercooled blue phase has a different structure from the BPI.Chiral molecules have been included as dopants in achiral bent-core materials to produce a range of new chiral mixtures. Different host materials and chiral dopants have been used to produce several chiral nematic materials in which the chiral nematic phase, the underlying smectic phase and the blue phases are examined. The order parameter is determined as a function of temperature in the chiral nematic phase, and compared to that determined for several calamitic materials; no discernible difference is found. A study of the pitch divergence in the chiral nematic phase of the bent-core mixtures shows interesting properties at both low temperature (as the smectic phase is approached) and at high temperatures (at the transition to the blue phase). An unusual phase separation of the chiral dopant in the mixtures is reported, and details are deduced through a comparison between different mixtures. It is found that a dopant with similar clearing point to the bent-core material has less likelihood of phase separation. Although the blue phase temperature range is extended in these mixtures in comparison with typical values for calamitic materials, it does not extend beyond 2K in any of the materials. Both blue phase I and the fog phases are observed in these chiral bent core systems, but no BPII is observed in any of the materials studied. The small k33 (~ 2.8 pN at 10 K below clearing point) in the bent-core host material is suggested as one of the reasons that the blue phase range is not enhanced as much as may have been expected from reports by other authors.
Supervisor: Gleeson, Helen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Blue phase ; Liquid crystal ; Kerr effect ; Bent-core marterial ; Dark conglomerate phase ; Electrostriction