A New Method for Inducing Homogeneous Alignment of Nematic Liquid Crystals
A uniform homogeneous alignment of nematic liquid crystals can be induced by sputtering a silica coating onto the substrate and by ion-beam etching the silica surface at a shallow angle. The resulting liquid crystal alignment is parallel to the etch direction with a very small tilt angle out of the surface toward the ion beam source. Orientational control is believed to be derived from the presence of extremely minute grooves in the etched silica surface. One can measure a splay in the alignment caused by a slight divergence of the ion beam. Small defects in the alignment occasionally appear but are metastable and can be eliminated by heating or applying an ac field.
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