We report the in situ creation of reactive polymer nanoparticles and resulting polymer networks formed at the interfaces of liquid crystals. It is known that polymerization-induced phase separation proceeds in two distinct regimes depending on the concentration of monomer. For a high monomer concentration, phase separation occurs mainly through the spinodal decomposition process, consequently resulting in interpenetrating polymer networks. For a dilute system, however, the phase separation mainly proceeds and completes in the binodal decomposition regime. The system resembles the aggregation process of colloidal particle. In this case, the reaction kinetics is limited by the reaction between in situ created polymer aggregates and hence the network morphologies are greatly influenced by the diffusion of reactive polymer particles. The thin polymer layers localized at the surface of substrate are inevitably observed and can be comprehended by the interfacial adsorption and further cross-linking reaction of reactive polymer aggregates at the interface. This process provides a direct perception on understanding polymer stabilized liquid crystals accomplished by the interfacial polymer layer.
The detailed study has been performed for an extremely dilute condition (below 0.5 wt%) by employing systematic experimental approaches. Creation and growth of polymer nanoparticles have been measured by particle size analyzer. The interfacial localization of polymer aggregates and resulting interfacial layer formation with a tens of nanometer scale have been exploited at various interfaces such as liquid-solid, liquid-liquid, and liquid-gas interfaces. The resulting interfacial layers have been characterized by using fuorescent confocal microscope and field emission scanning electron microscope. The detailed processes of the polymer stabilized vertically aligned liquid crystals will be discussed in support of the reported study.
Shin-Woong Kang, Sudarshan Kundu, Heung-Shik Park, Keun Chan Oh, and Jae Jin Lyu, "In situ creation of reactive polymer nanoparticles and resulting polymer layers formed at the interfaces of liquid crystals (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10125, Emerging Liquid Crystal Technologies XII, 101250F (Presented at SPIE OPTO: January 31, 2017; Published: 21 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2251304.5398643897001.
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