Sang Seok Lee, Su Kyung Kim, Jong Chan Won, Yun Ho Kim, and Shin-Hyun Kim, "Reconfigurable Photonic Capsules Containing Cholesteric Liquid Crystals with Planar Alignment," Angewandte Chemie International Edition, In press (2015).
Cholesteric liquid crystals (CLCs) reflect selected wavelengths of light owing to their periodic helical structures. The encapsulation of CLCs leads to photonic devices that can be easily processed and might be used as stand-alone micro-sensors. However, when CLCs are enclosed by polymeric membranes, they usually lose their planar alignment, leading toa deterioration of the optical performance. A microfluidics approach was employed to integrate an ultra-thin alignment layer into microcapsules to separate the CLC core and the elastomeric solid membrane using triple-emulsion drops as the templates. The thinness of the alignment layer provides high lubrication resistance, preserving the layer integrity during elastic deformation of the membrane. The CLCs in the microcapsules can thus maintain their planar alignment, rendering the shape and optical properties highly reconfigurable.
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