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Liquid crystals (LC) confined in curved geometries have been a fundamental challenge for more than a century, starting from the study of supra-micrometre nematic droplets suspended in an isotropic medium (Lehmann, 1904). In the mid-1980s, a new period began with this topic stimulated by the discovery of various composite materials suitable for electro-optic and thermo-optic applications in controllable light scattering windows, flatpanel displays, holography, optical networking, and computing. In these materials LC molecules are confined within polymer or porous networks, therefore a competition arises between surface ordering and disordering effects on formation of stable director configurations and configurational transitions, critical temperatures of mesogenic phase transitions, orientational and hydro-dynamics and other properties. So far the behaviour of mesogens enclosed in different porous matrixes such as Nuclepore polymer membrane, Anopore aluminium oxide membrane, Vycor glass, and others with pores of different size and shape have been investigated by means of various experimental techniques: specific heat calorimetry, nuclear magnetic resonance, dielectric spectroscopy, polarization microscopy, dynamic light scattering etc.; for a review see (Crawford & Žumer, 1996). Another host material namely electrochemically etched porous silicon (PSi)(Canham, 1997) has appeared to be promising for tunable and switchable optoelectronic devices due to the simplicity of fabrication, flexibility in wavelength design and compatibility with silicon microelectronic technology. Since PSi film is only several microns thick, most of the …
Publication date: 
1 Nov 2009

Georgiy V Tkachenko, Volodymyr Tkachenko, Giancarlo Abbate, Luca De Stefano, Ilaria Rea, Igor A Sukhoivanov

Biblio References: 
New Developments in Liquid Crystals