Europhys. Lett.
Volume 75, Number 3, August 2006
Page(s) 448 - 454
Section Condensed matter: structural, mechanical and thermal properties
Published online 28 June 2006
Europhys. Lett., 75 (3), pp. 448-454 (2006)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2006-10122-9

Selective light-induced desorption: The mechanism of photoalignment of liquid crystals at adsorbing solid surfaces

V. G. Nazarenko1, O. P. Boiko1, A. B. Nych1, Yu. A. Nastishin1, V. M. Pergamenshchik1 and P. Bos2

1  Institute of Physics - prospekt Nauky 46, Kiev 03039, Ukraine
2  Liquid Crystal Institute, Kent State University - Kent, OH 44242, USA

received 12 April 2006; accepted 7 June 2006
published online 28 June 2006

We demonstrate experimentally that bare solid surfaces with adsorbed organic molecules can orient liquid crystals after UV light irradiation. The detailed structure and behavior of the surface-adsorbed molecules are not important to the effect: just their UV light absorption should depend on their orientation. The only requirement to the solid substrates is their transparency to the UV light. The universal reason for the photoinduced anisotropy in such systems is that photons clean from the surface those molecules that absorb them most intensively. This is a kind of light rubbing resulting in the anisotropic ablation of the adsorbed material.

61.30.Hn - Surface phenomena: alignment, anchoring, anchoring transitions, surface-induced layering, surface-induced ordering, wetting, prewetting transitions, and wetting transitions.
42.79.Kr - Display devices, liquid-crystal devices.
68.37.-d - Microscopy of surfaces, interfaces, and thin films.

© EDP Sciences 2006