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Polarization holographic grating recording in the cholesteric azobenzene-containing films with the phototunable helix pitch

: Ryabchun, A.; Sobolewska, A.; Bobrovsky, A.; Shibaev, V.; Stumpe, J.


Journal of polymer science. B, polymer physics 52 (2014), No.11, pp.773-781
ISSN: 0887-6266
ISSN: 1099-0488
ISSN: 0098-1273
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IAP ()

The recording of polarization gratings in films of a cholesteric liquid crystalline polymer with different helix pitch was studied in detail. For this purpose, the cholesteric mixture of the nematic azobenzene-containing copolymer with a chiral-photochromic dopant was prepared. The utilization of such mixture has made possible to realize dual optical photorecording in one system, first due to the phototuning of the helix pitch by UV light and second the polarization grating recording process by exposure with polarized visible light. The diffraction efficiency strongly depends on the cholesteric helix pitch and films thickness: the increase of the confinement ratio d/p (where d, film thickness; p, helix pitch) results in growth of the diffraction efficiency. Comparison of the induction of polarization gratings in cholesteric, nematic (copolymer without chiral dopant), and amorphous (nonannealed) cholesteric films revealed that only the cholesteric films were characterized by significant oscillations in the diffraction efficiency signal as well as by the presence of the maximum in the first-order diffraction efficiency in the initial stage of the grating recording process. It was found that in addition to the polarization grating surface relief gratings (SRGs) were also formed in the studied systems, however, the amplitude of the SRG inscribed in the cholesteric films was lower (approximate to 20 nm) compared to the grating amplitude obtained in nematic films (approximate to 60 nm). Moreover, increasing helix pitch resulted in a decrease of the SRG amplitude. The obtained experimental data demonstrate the great potential of cholesteric LC mixtures of such type for different applications as photoactive materials for photonics.