Polarized Raman scattering and SEM combined full characterization of self-assembled nematic thin films
Elongated particles are predestined for a fast transfer of optical and electronical signals in a preferred direction, which is mandatory for a quick response in optoelectronic devices. The performance of the material is based on the quality of defect less alignment of the particles. On this account we present an easy non-invasive methodology for characterization of both surface and bulk order. The characterization of bulk order is performed by orientation dependent variation of the polarized Raman scattering signal on large areas by mapping. Scanning electron microscopy and image analysis on the surface complete the characterization. New insights in dip coated nematic structures clearly show the interplay of evaporation induced and shear-induced self-assembly and reveal a comprehensive mechanistic picture for nanorod assembly: the shear force dominated regime orients the particle in direction of withdrawal. At low withdrawal velocity, however, shear forces and evaporation counteract to produce a three-layered film where the top and bottom layers are oriented perpendicular to each other. The middle layer gives a clear evidence for a reorientation by convective flow.