The main recent achievement is the discovery of a new liquid crystalline phase, the splay nematic phase. The phase, which is biaxial and ferroelectric, can be found in materials made of polar wedge-shaped molecules. The described phase represents a major step forward the realisation of an often-speculated polar nematic phase, which could lead to materials with optical and electrical behaviors desired for a wide range of applications. Images show new defects in the splay nematic (Ns) phase that indicate a lower symmetry that in the nematic phase. We observe that splay elastic constant goes towards zero at the transition from the nematic to splay nematic phase.
Different LC phases are also studied and their possible use for applications. Examples include tunable diffractive structures from LCs and polymers fabricated by holographic lithography methods, micropatterned polymer-LC structures based on scaffolds fabricated by direct laser writing technique, mechanically stretchable optical diffractive structures from LC elastomers and polymer-LC Q-plate that is used for transformation of Gaussian laser beams into polarisation vortex beams.
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GENG, Yong, NOH, JungHyun, DREVENŠEK OLENIK, Irena, RUPP, Romano Anton, LENZINI, Gabriele, LAGERWALL, Jan P. F. High-fidelity spherical cholesteric liquid crystal Bragg reflectors generating unclonable patterns for secure authentication. Scientific reports, ISSN 2045-2322, 2016, vol. 6, art. no. 26840, 9 str., ilustr., doi: 10.1038/srep26840.
DE LUCA, M., DESIMONE, Antonio, PETELIN, Andrej, ČOPIČ, Martin. Sub-stripe pattern formation in liquid crystal elastomers : experimental observations and numerical simulations. Journal of the mechanics and physics of solids, ISSN 0022-5096. [Print ed.], 2013, vol. 61, no. 11, str. 2161-2177, doi: 10.1016/j.jmps.2013.07.002.