Light-driven electrohydrodynamic instabilities in liquid crystals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
215 Downloads (Pure)


The induction of electrohydrodynamic instabilities in nematic liquid crystals through light illumination are reported. For this purpose, a photochromic spiropyran is added to the liquid crystal mixture. When an electrical field is applied in the absence of UV light, the homeotropic liquid crystal reorients perpendicular to the electrical field driven by its negative dielectric anisotropy. Upon exposure to UV light, the nonionic spiropyran isomerizes to the zwitterionic merocyanine form inducing electrohydrodynamic instabilities which turns the cell from transparent into highly scattering. The reverse isomerization to closed-ring spiropyran form occurs thermally or under visible light, which stops the electrohydrodynamic instabilities and the cell becomes transparent again. It is demonstrated that the photoionic electrohydrodynamic instabilities can be used for light regulation. Local exposure, either to drive the electrohydrodynamics or to remove them enables the formation of colored images.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1707436
Number of pages7
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2018


  • Electrohydrodynamic instabilities
  • Light scattering
  • Liquid crystals
  • Photochemistry
  • photochemistry
  • electrohydrodynamic instabilities
  • light scattering
  • liquid crystals


Dive into the research topics of 'Light-driven electrohydrodynamic instabilities in liquid crystals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this