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Fractal and Non-Fractal Structure–Property Relationships of Polymer-Stabilized Liquid Crystals

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Abstract

The electro-optic performance of polymer-stabilized liquid crystals (PSLCs) depends in a complex manner on the morphology of the stabilizing polymer network, mainly through elastic interactions between the liquid crystal and the network. The morphology of the polymer in turn depends on the preparation conditions during polymerization. By using the fractal dimension as a means to describe the polymer morphology, we present scaling relations that quantitatively link the electro-optic response of polymer-stabilized cholesteric textures to the preparation conditions and the resulting network structure of the device. The validity of this description is demonstrated for several preparation series, including variation of curing temperature, UV intensity, time of UV irradiation, and photo-initiator concentration. Additionally, some non-fractal scaling relations are discussed with respect to sandwich cell gap and wavelength of the probing light. From the scaling relations, essential properties of PSLC devices can be predicted for varying preparation conditions over a wide range of parameters.

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