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Issue 24, 2017
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Voxel resolution in the directed self-assembly of liquid crystal polymer networks and elastomers

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Abstract

Monomeric mixtures formulated to prepare a liquid crystal polymer network (LCN) or elastomer (LCE) can be “programmed” by surface alignment to retain complex and arbitrary spatial distributions of the director orientation upon polymerization. The localized control of orientation in a given volume (voxel) within these materials is the subject of intense research, currently motivated by the prospect of distinctive mechanical responses (both active and passive). Here, we report on a rapid and scalable photopatterning method to prepare alignment surfaces with a throughput of 10 mm2 s−1, using a commercial spatial light modulator and projection optics. Enabled by this method, we detail that the resolution limit of the inscribed director profile is not dictated by the optical system but is determined by the elastic-mediated orientational relaxation of the liquid crystalline materials. A simple model is experimentally validated and the implications for device design are discussed.

Graphical abstract: Voxel resolution in the directed self-assembly of liquid crystal polymer networks and elastomers

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Article information


Submitted
03 Apr 2017
Accepted
16 May 2017
First published
25 May 2017

Soft Matter, 2017,13, 4335-4340
Article type
Paper

Voxel resolution in the directed self-assembly of liquid crystal polymer networks and elastomers

B. A. Kowalski, V. P. Tondiglia, T. Guin and T. J. White, Soft Matter, 2017, 13, 4335
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM00663B

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