Abstract

A simple and reproducible alignment method for fabricating vertically aligned (VA) liquid crystal (LC) cells with a multi-pretilt structure is developed. A non-uniform vertical electric field is employed in the LC/monomer mixed cells during the photocuring process, and two pretilt domains with a functional small pretilt angle (1.6°) in the stabilized VA LC/polymer cells are achieved. The enhanced electro-optical performance of the cell driven by an in-plane switching field is demonstrated. Compared to the pure cell, the 2 wt.% pretilt angle cell shows 36%, 64%, and 76% improvement in the optical switch, the gray-level rise time, and the gray-level fall time responses, respectively, which are obtained at a low driving voltage (12V). When applied to LC devices, the proposed method not only effectively benefits the LC molecular alignment, but it also significantly boosts the electro-optical performance.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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