A temperature-responsive polarization converter, which reversibly changes from a full-wave to a half-wave plate upon heating, is developed. The polymer wave plate has a controlled thickness and is based on a uniaxial aligned nematic semi-interpenetrating network coating containing a specific concentration of a non-crosslinked liquid crystal elastomer. Upon heating, the effective birefringence of the wave plate halves without changing the thickness. The function of the wave plate is demonstrated by sandwiching the tunable polarization converter between two identical right-handed circular polarized light reflective films with a wavelength around 770 nm. At low temperatures, this optical device reflects 50% of light at 770 nm, whereas at elevated temperature 81% is reflected. Such temperature-responsive optical devices have potential applications for both aesthetic purposes as well as energy saving windows.
- liquid crystals
- polarization converter
- semi-interpenetrating networks
- temperature responsive
- wave plates