SUMMARY Recently, a control technique of light distribution pattern has become important to improve the functionality and the light utilization efficiency of electronic displays, illumination devices and so on. As a light control technique, polymer-dispersed liquid crystals (PDLCs) have been commonly used so far. However, a precise control of the light diffusion distribution of conventional PDLC has been difficult due to the random polymer network structure, which results in the low light utilization efficiency. On the other hand, reverse-mode PDLCs with homogeneously aligned molecules can anisotropically diffuse light. The reverse-mode PDLC, however, has polarization dependency in the haze value due to homogeneously aligned molecules, which also results in the low light utilization efficiency. Therefore, it is necessary to establish the optimization method of light diffusion distribution without the molecules alignment treatment, and we have proposed a novel PDLC with structure-controlled polymer network which was fabricated by the irradiation with uni-directionally diffused UV light. In this paper, we investigated the effect of the process temperature during UV irradiation on the internal structure and light diffusion distribution of the proposed PDLC. As a result, in case that the mixture during UV irradiation was in isotropic phase, we clarified that the structure-controlled PDLCs with alternating striped LCs/polymer pattern could be obtained because the mixture was sufficiently irradiated with uni-directionally diffused UV light. For the high haze, this structure-controlled PDLC should be fabricated as low temperature as possible with maintaining the mixture in isotropic phase so that the mixture was not a nano-scaled molecular mixing state. Also, this PDLC had no polarization dependency in the haze value and could electrically switch the light distribution pattern between anisotropic light diffusion and light transmission. From the above results, we concluded that the proposed PDLC could precisely control the light diffusion distribution, and realize the high light utilization efficiency.
- Light control
- Polymer network structure
- Polymer-dispersed liquid crystal
- UV curing