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Photoorientation phenomena in photosensitive chiral nematic copolymers

: Bobrovsky, A.; Boiko, N.; Shibaev, V.; Stumpe, J.


Liquid crystals 29 (2002), No.11, pp.1469-1476
ISSN: 0267-8292
ISSN: 1366-5855
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IAP ()

Photo-orientational phenomena have been studied for two comb-shaped cholesteric copolyacrylates containing azobenzene side groups. Copolymer (I) contains nematogenic phenyl benzoate groups and photosensitive chiral menthyl-containing azobenzene side groups. Copolymer (II) is composed of nematogenic phenyl benzoate groups, photosensitive cyanoazobenzene groups and chiral photochromic benzylidene-(p)-methan-3-one fragments. Under the action of polarized Ar+ laser light (488 nm), orientation of the side groups of the copolymers takes place, and this orientation is perpendicular to the vector of the electric field of the incident light. This process shows a co-operative character; that is, it involves both photosensitive azobenzene and phenyl benzoate groups. The kinetics of growth of the photoinduced orientational order parameter were studied as a function of film thickness, incident light intensity, and preliminary UV irradiation. For the planar oriented films of the copolymers, irradiation with polarized light leads to the development of photoinduced birefringence Delta(n); maximum values of Delta(n) reach 0.01. The photo-optical properties of copolymers (I) and (II) are compared. Such materials may be used for 'dual' data recording by varying the helix pitch, selective light reflection maximum, and photoinduced birefringence or linear dichroism.