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Transmission polarized optical microscopy of short-pitch cholesteric liquid crystal shells

  • Geng, Yong
  • Noh, Junghyun
  • Lagerwall, Jan
Publication Date
Mar 07, 2016
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We recently demonstrated that colloidal crystal arrangements of monodisperse droplets or shells of planar-aligned cholesteric liquid crystal exhibit intricate patterns of circularly polarized reflection spots of different colors. The spots appear as a result of photonic cross communication between droplets, hence the patterns reflect the macroscopic arrangement of droplets or shells. Apart from being an interesting optical phenomenon, it offers attractive application opportunities in photonics and beyond, due to the unique characteristics of the patterns. It turns out that the optical quality of shells is much enhanced compared to that of droplets, hence we focus our attention primarily on shells, of varying thickness. Here we analyze and explain the intriguing textures arising when studying planar-aligned short-pitch cholesteric shells in transmission polarizing optical microscopy. In this case, the texture reflects the properties of each individual shell, without any sign of cross communication, yet also this pattern holds some fascinating mysteries. These can only be elucidated by considering all the peculiar optical properties of cholesterics together, as well as the unusual situation given by the spherical shell geometry.

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