The optical properties of nematic liquid crystals have been extensively exploited in the production of devices working in the visible range of the spectrum. These same properties can be employed to make devices that function in the near infrared as required for telecommunications applications. However, it is generally observed that the birefringence of liquid crystal mixtures decreases with increasing wavelength, making it important to identify new materials, optimized for use in the near infrared region. One route to high birefringence is to operate close to an absorption band edge, which in the present context implies choosing highly conjugated materials which are potentially colored and, thus, not suited to traditional display applications. In this paper we explore the usefulness of dye molecules as birefringence enhancers in mixtures with conventional nematic liquid crystals. The optical properties, in particular, the absorption edge, polarizability, and birefringence, of families of known dyes are calculated at optical (589 nm) and infrared (1550 nm) wavelengths, using electronic density functional theory. We demonstrate the expected correlation between the proximity of the absorption edge and the magnitude of the birefringence, and estimate the birefringence enhancement occurring when each dye is incorporated in a guest-host system.
|Translated title of the contribution||Influence of dye molecules on the birefringence of liquid crystal mixtures at near infrared frequencies|
|Pages (from-to)||104901-1 - 104901-14|
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||Journal of Chemical Physics|
|Publication status||Published - Sept 2007|