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Carbon Nanotubes and Liquid Crystals Electro-Optic Cells

G.Y. Georgiev, E.A. Gombos, M.B. McIntyre, M.F. Mattera, P.A. Gati, Y. Cabrera, P. Cebe
Assumption College, US

Keywords: 5CB, carbon nanotubes, liquid crystal, nanocomposite, switching voltage


We studied the effects of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) on the Freedericksz transition of a liquid crystal (LC) and calibrated the altitudinal angle of CNTs as a function of the electric field. In addition, we directed the azimuthal angle which gave us complete control of the 3D orientation of the CNTs. Our results show that in the presence of CNTs the Freedericksz transition occurs at 55% of the transitional electric field as compared to the control electro-optic cell without CNTs. The width of the Freedericksz transition narrows by a similar factor. The nematic-nematic coupling between the LCs and CNTs can help us develop more efficient devices based on LCs. Also, the electrical conductivity of CNTs adds additional functionality to the optical properties of LC based devices, so they can function as a nano-switch. This result can be used in understanding the interactions in complex fluids and in creating more efficient LC-based devices. Liquid crystals are one of the best examples of programmable matter, where the properties of certain complex fluids are modified in the presence of external fields. The results for the altitudinal angle can be used as calibration curves for precise control of the orientation of the CNTs utilizing the LCs as molecular motors.
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