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Physical Review E


A new class of photoactive chiral liquid crystals based on a photoactive nematic host material and a photoinactive chiral dopant was utilized to investigate the behavior of the blues phases when trans-cis isomerization is induced. While the general behavior follows what has been observed in the cholesteric phase, the sensitivity of the blue phases to external parameters causes different behavior when these systems are exposed to UV radiation. The results for four different mixtures are reported and include (1) modulation of the blue phase selective reflection wavelength with low levels of UV and visible light, (2) conversion of one blue phase to another upon exposure to UV light, and (3) induction of blue phases due to UV irradiation when no blue phases are stable beforehand. It is also noted that the supercooled blue phase behaves differently from the other blue phases. All of these results can be understood qualitatively from the ratio of non-nematogenic cis isomers to nematogenic trans isomers and chiral molecules.


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