Polymer Dispersed Cholesteric Liquid Crystals with a Toroidal Director Configuration under an Electric Field

Gardymova, Anna P.; Krakhalev, Mikhail N.; Zyryanov, Victor Ya.; Gruzdenko, Alexandra A.; Alekseev, Andrey A.; et al. Polymers. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13050732

The electro-optical properties of polymer dispersed liquid crystal (PDLC) films are highly dependent on the features of the contained liquid crystal (LC) droplets. Cholesteric LC droplets with homeotropic boundaries can form several topologically different orientational structures, including ones with single and more point defects, layer-like, and axisymmetric twisted toroidal structures. These structures are very sensitive to an applied electric field. In this work, we have demonstrated experimentally and by computer simulations that twisted toroidal droplets reveal strong structural response to the electric field. In turn, this leads to vivid changes in the optical texture in crossed polarizers. The response of droplets of different sizes were found to be equivalent in terms of dimensionless parameters. In addition, the explanation of this phenomenon showed a comparison of theoretical and experimental structural response curves aids to determine the shape of the droplet. Finally, we demonstrated that the addition of a dichroic dye allows such films to be used as optical filters with adjustable color even without polarizers.