Optical activity of chiral thin film and liquid crystal hybrids

S.R. Kennedy, J.C. Sit, D.J. Broer, M.J. Brett

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)
    3 Downloads (Pure)


    Using the glancing angle deposition (GLAD) technique, we have fabricated porous, chiral thin films with optically anisotropic helical microstructures that exhibit optical phenomena such as wavelength specific rotation of linearly polarized light. Initial research has shown that the porosity of the films allows for the addition of nematic liquid crystals (NLCs) to the films for promising applications in dynamically switchable devices, while simultaneously enhancing the optical properties of the film. This study describes the fundamental optical behaviour of LC-filled chiral thin films in relation to material, porosity, structure and thickness. It was found that for SiO2 films, the addition of NLCs increased the effective rotatory power by two-fold when compared with results from the film without added LCs. The rotatory power of Al2O3 and MgF2 films, while being similarly increased by the addition of LCs, exhibited a reversal in sign, or direction of rotation, for the visible wavelength spectrum investigated. The effects of film porosity and structure were studied by varying the angle of incidence from 83° to 86°; it was found that the greater porosity of the films deposited at larger angles allowed for more filling by the LCs and thus a larger increase in rotatory power. Finally, the addition of LCs was observed to shift the wavelength of peak rotation towards smaller values.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1799-1803
    JournalLiquid Crystals
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


    Dive into the research topics of 'Optical activity of chiral thin film and liquid crystal hybrids'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this