Pyroelectric manipulation of liquid crystal droplets

Year: 2013

Authors: Merola F., Grilli S., Coppola S., Vespini V., De Nicola S., Maddalena P., Carfagna C., Ferraro P.

Autors Affiliation: Istituto Nazionale di Ottica (CNR-INO), Via Campi Flegrei 34, 80078 Pozzuoli (NA) Italy;
Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, Piazzale Tecchio 80, 80125 Napoli, Italy;
Università di Napoli “Federico II”, Dip. Scienze Fisiche, Via Cintia, 80126 Napoli, Italy;
Istituto di Chimica e Tecnologia dei Polimeri (CNR-ICTP), Via Campi Flegrei 34, 80078 Pozzuoli (NA), Italy

Abstract: Very interesting effects can be observed in maneuvering nematic liquid crystal (NLC) droplets onto functionalized polar lithium niobate (LN) crystal surfaces, covered with thin films of Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). It has been discovered that pyroelectric effect is able to drive a reversible fragmentation process in liquid crystal drops, starting from nanoliter drops and obtaining pico/femtoliter droplets. These small droplets are patterned according to the geometry of the substrate and aligned along the electric field lines. This novel approach for manipulating different classes of liquids by exploiting the pyroelectric effect, where the strong electric fields generated allow to manipulate liquids in 2D on a substrate or even in 3D, has been recently discovered and exploited for different purposes. In particular, manipulation of liquid crystals by a thermal stimulus could be suitable for applications such as spatial modulation of the wettability (i.e. wettability patterning), or, in principle, a dynamical optical element able to switch from a diffuser (fragmentation) state to a microlens array. Moreover, the biocompatibility of some kinds of nematic or cholesteric liquid crystals makes them suitable as biomaterials for applications in biology and tissue engineering.


Volume: 8792      Pages from: 187920V  to: 187920V

KeyWords: liquid crystals; pyroelectric effect;
DOI: 10.1117/12.2020555

Citations: 2
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