Dispersion of Nanoparticles in Liquid Crystals by Sputtering and Its Effect on the Electrooptic Properties

Hiroyuki YOSHIDA  Kosuke KAWAMOTO  Yuma TANAKA  Hitoshi KUBO  Akihiko FUJII  Masanori OZAKI  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Electronics   Vol.E93-C   No.11   pp.1595-1601
Publication Date: 2010/11/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1353
DOI: 10.1587/transele.E93.C.1595
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: INVITED PAPER (Special Section on Electronic Displays)
liquid crystals,  nanoparticles,  sputtering,  

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The authors describe a method to produce gold nanoparticle-dispersed liquid crystals by means of sputtering, and discuss how the presence of gold nanoparticles affect the electro-optic response of the host liquid crystal. The method exploits the fact that liquid crystals possess low vapor pressures which allow them to undergo the sputtering process, and the target material is sputtered directly on the liquid crystal in a reduced air pressure environment. The sample attained a red-brownish color after sputtering, but no aggregations were observed in the samples kept in the liquid crystal phase. Polarization optical microscopy of the sample placed in a conventional sandwich cell revealed that the phase transition behaviour is affected by the presence of the nanoparticles and that the onset of the nematic phase is observed in the form of bubble-like domains whereas in the pure sample the nematic phase appears after the passing of a phase transition front. Transmission electron microscopy confirmed the presence of single nano-sized particles that were dispersed without forming aggregates in the material. The electro-optic properties of the nanoparticle-dispersed liquid crystal was investigated by measuring the threshold voltage for a twisted-nematic cell. The threshold voltage was found to depend on the frequency of the applied rectangular voltage, and at frequencies higher than 200 Hz, the threshold became lower than the pure samples.