A stable and scalable polymer-stabilized liquid crystal window which electrically switches from transparent to opaque has been fabricated. Scanning electron microscope measurement shows that higher polymer concentration will induce denser polymer network in polymer stabilized liquid crystal system and then stronger anchoring force between polymer network and liquid crystal molecules, which resulting in larger operating voltage. The cell with larger cell gap has a lower saturated transmittance in the voltage-on state, which attributed to a larger number of scattering domains in thick cell. The optimized cell exhibits a highly transparent voltage-off state (3.5% haze) and a voltage-on scattering state (98% haze) with the threshold voltage of around 20 V. The durability test shows that the optical device switches at least 100,000 times without degradation of optical contrast and shows a high temperature tolerance. Meanwhile, a 40 × 50 cm2 window has been developed in an industrial production line showing the same optical properties. Our results demonstrate the fabrication of smart windows with a highly transparent rest state and high optical contrast on a commercial mass production scale, making them attractive for applications in buildings, automobiles, and switchable sunglasses for light management and potentially energy saving.
- liquid crystals
- optical properties