liquid crystals, refractive indices, tunable photonic crystal fibers, high temperature gradient, liquid crystal display, extended cauchy model, four-parameter model, physical models of temperature gradients of liquid crystal refractive indices, li
Liquid crystals (LCs) are important materials for flat panel display and photonic devices. Most LC devices use electrical field-, magnetic field-, or temperature-induced refractive index change to modulate the incident light. Molecular constituents, wavelength, and temperature are the three primary factors determining the liquid crystal refractive indices: ne and no for the extraordinary and ordinary rays, respectively. In this dissertation, we derive several physical models for describing the wavelength and temperature effects on liquid crystal refractive indices, average refractive index, and birefringence. Based on these models, we develop some high temperature gradient refractive index LC mixtures for photonic applications, such as thermal tunable liquid crystal photonic crystal fibers and thermal solitons. Liquid crystal refractive indices decrease as the wavelength increase. Both ne and no saturate in the infrared region. Wavelength effect on LC refractive indices is important for the design of direct-view displays. In Chapter 2, we derive the extended Cauchy models for describing the wavelength effect on liquid crystal refractive indices in the visible and infrared spectral regions based on the three-band model. The three-coefficient Cauchy model could be used for describing the refractive indices of liquid crystals with low, medium, and high birefringence, whereas the two-coefficient Cauchy model is more suitable for low birefringence liquid crystals. The critical value of the birefringence is deltan~0.12. Temperature is another important factor affecting the LC refractive indices. The thermal effect originated from the lamp of projection display would affect the performance of the employed liquid crystal. In Chapter 3, we derive the four-parameter and three-parameter parabolic models for describing the temperature effect on the LC refractive indices based on Vuks model and Haller equation. We validate the empirical Haller equation quantitatively. We also validate that the average refractive index of liquid crystal decreases linearly as the temperature increases. Liquid crystals exhibit a large thermal nonlinearity which is attractive for new photonic applications using photonic crystal fibers. We derive the physical models for describing the temperature gradient of the LC refractive indices, ne and no, based on the four-parameter model. We find that LC exhibits a crossover temperature To at which dno/dT is equal to zero. The physical models of the temperature gradient indicate that ne, the extraordinary refractive index, always decreases as the temperature increases since dne/dT is always negative, whereas no, the ordinary refractive index, decreases as the temperature increases when the temperature is lower than the crossover temperature (dno/dT<0 when the temperature is lower than To) and increases as the temperature increases when the temperature is higher than the crossover temperature (dno/dT>0 when the temperature is higher than To ). Measurements of LC refractive indices play an important role for validating the physical models and the device design. Liquid crystal is anisotropic and the incident linearly polarized light encounters two different refractive indices when the polarization is parallel or perpendicular to the optic axis. The measurement is more complicated than that for an isotropic medium. In Chapter 4, we use a multi-wavelength Abbe refractometer to measure the LC refractive indices in the visible light region. We measured the LC refractive indices at six wavelengths, lamda=450, 486, 546, 589, 633 and 656 nm by changing the filters. We use a circulating constant temperature bath to control the temperature of the sample. The temperature range is from 10 to 55 oC. The refractive index data measured include five low-birefringence liquid crystals, MLC-9200-000, MLC-9200-100, MLC-6608 (delta_epsilon=-4.2), MLC-6241-000, and UCF-280 (delta_epsilon=-4); four middle-birefringence liquid crystals, 5CB, 5PCH, E7, E48 and BL003; four high-birefringence liquid crystals, BL006, BL038, E44 and UCF-35, and two liquid crystals with high dno/dT at room temperature, UCF-1 and UCF-2. The refractive indices of E7 at two infrared wavelengths lamda=1.55 and 10.6 um are measured by the wedged-cell refractometer method. The UV absorption spectra of several liquid crystals, MLC-9200-000, MLC-9200-100, MLC-6608 and TL-216 are measured, too. In section 6.5, we also measure the refractive index of cured optical films of NOA65 and NOA81 using the multi-wavelength Abbe refractometer. In Chapter 5, we use the experimental data measured in Chapter 4 to validate the physical models we derived, the extended three-coefficient and two-coefficient Cauchy models, the four-parameter and three-parameter parabolic models. For the first time, we validate the Vuks model using the experimental data of liquid crystals directly. We also validate the empirical Haller equation for the LC birefringence delta_n and the linear equation for the LC average refractive index
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Optics and Photonics
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Li, Jun, "Refractive Indices Of Liquid Crystals And Their Applications In Display And Photonic Devices" (2005). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 4460.