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Nanomaterials 2017, 7(9), 250; doi:10.3390/nano7090250

Dynamic Response of Graphitic Flakes in Nematic Liquid Crystals: Confinement and Host Effect

1
Key Laboratory of Micro-Nano Materials for Energy Storage and Conversion of Henan Province, Institute of Surface Micro and Nano Materials, College of Advanced Materials and Energy, Xuchang University, Xuchang 461000, Henan, China
2
Applied Materials Institute for BIN Convergence, Department of BIN Convergence Technology and Graduate School of Printable and Flexible Electronics, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju 561-756, Jeonbuk, Korea
3
Asutosh College, 92, Shyamaprasad Mukherjee Road, Kolkata 700 026, West Bengal, India
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 July 2017 / Revised: 24 August 2017 / Accepted: 30 August 2017 / Published: 1 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials in Liquid Crystals)
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Abstract

Electric field-induced reorientation of suspended graphitic (GP) flakes and its relaxation back to the original state in a nematic liquid crystal (NLC) host are of interest not only in academia, but also in industrial applications, such as polarizer-free and optical film-free displays, and electro-optic light modulators. As the phenomenon has been demonstrated by thorough observation, the detailed study of the physical properties of the host NLC (the magnitude of dielectric anisotropy, elastic constants, and rotational viscosity), the size of the GP flakes, and cell thickness, are urgently required to be explored and investigated. Here, we demonstrate that the response time of GP flakes reorientation associated with an NLC host can be effectively enhanced by controlling the physical properties. In a vertical field-on state, higher dielectric anisotropy and higher elasticity of NLC give rise to quicker reorientation of the GP flakes (switching from planar to vertical alignment) due to the field-induced coupling effect of interfacial Maxwell-Wagner polarization and NLC reorientation. In a field off-state, lower rotational viscosity of NLC and lower cell thickness can help to reduce the decay time of GP flakes reoriented from vertical to planar alignment. This is mainly attributed to strong coupling between GP flakes and NLC originating from the strong π-π interaction between benzene rings in the honeycomb-like graphene structure and in NLC molecules. The high-uniformity of reoriented GP flakes exhibits a possibility of new light modulation with a relatively faster response time in the switching process and, thus, it can show potential application in field-induced memory and modulation devices. View Full-Text
Keywords: graphitic flakes; liquid crystal; Maxwell-Wagner polarization; dynamic response graphitic flakes; liquid crystal; Maxwell-Wagner polarization; dynamic response
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Tie, W.; Bhattacharyya, S.S.; Gao, Y.; Zheng, Z.; Shin, E.J.; Kim, T.H.; Kim, M.; Lee, J.H.; Lee, S.H. Dynamic Response of Graphitic Flakes in Nematic Liquid Crystals: Confinement and Host Effect. Nanomaterials 2017, 7, 250.

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