Electrically turning periodic structures in cholesteric layer with conical-planar boundary conditions

Prishchepa, Oxana; Krakhalev, Mikhail; Rudyak, Vladimir; Sutormin, Vitaly; Zyryanov, Victor. Scientific Reports. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-87854-z

Electro-optical cell based on the cholesteric liquid crystal is studied with unique combination of the boundary conditions: conical anchoring on the one substrate and planar anchoring on another one. Periodic structures in cholesteric layer and their transformation under applied electric field are considered by polarizing optical microscopy, the experimental findings are supported by the data of the calculations performed using the extended Frank elastic continuum approach. Such structures are the set of alternating over- and under-twisted defect lines whose azimuthal director angles differ by 180180∘. The U+U+ and UU−-defects of periodicity, which are the smooth transition between the defect lines, are observed at the edge of electrode area. The growth direction of defect lines forming a diffraction grating can be controlled by applying a voltage in the range of 0V1.30≤V≤1.3 V during the process. Resulting orientation and distance between the lines don’t change under voltage. However, at V>1.3V>1.3 V U+U+-defects move along the defect lines away from the electrode edges, and, finally, the grating lines collapse at the cell’s center. These results open a way for the use of such cholesteric material in applications with periodic defect structures where a periodicity, orientation, and configuration of defects should be adjusted.