This work reports, for the first time, a dielectrophoresis (DEP) effect-induced motion of liquid crystal (LC) droplets in an LC/monomer mixture sample with a poly-(N-vinyl carbazole) PVK-coated substrate without an external voltage. With the UV pre-irradiation of the PVK layer through a binary mask, a laterally non-uniform electric field can be induced between the pre-illuminated regions and the neighboring non-pre-illuminated PVK regions near the borders of the two regions. The phase separation occurs once the temperature is lower than 50◦C and the LC droplets can form in the sample. The pre-formed non-uniform field provides a DEP-like force to manipulate the small LC microdroplets in the pre-illuminated regions to effectively migrate to the adjacent non-pre-illuminated regions. The continuous supply of the LC from the pre-illuminated regions to the adjacent non-pre-illuminated regions significantly increases the diffraction efficiency of the grating sample. This study provides an insight into developing new external-voltage-free DEP-based devices that can be applied on various fields, such as photonics, displays, and biomedicines.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Inorganic Chemistry