Photorefractivity in liquid crystals doped with a soluble conjugated polymer

Gary P. Wiederrecht*, Walter A. Svec, Mark P. Niemczyk, Michael R Wasielewski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Photoconductive polymers are doped into liquid crystals to create a new mechanism for space-charge field formation in photorefractive liquid crystal composites. The composites contain poly(2,5-bis(2′-ethylhexyloxy)-1,4-phenylenevinylene) (BEH-PPV) and the electron acceptor N,N′-dioctyl-1,4:5,8-naphthalenediimide, NI. Using asymmetric energy transfer (beam coupling) measurements that are diagnostic for the photorefractive effect, the direction of beam coupling as a function of grating fringe spacing inverts at a spacing of 5.5 μm. We show that the inversion is due to a change in the dominant mechanism for space-charge field formation. At small fringe spacings, the space-charge field is formed by ion diffusion in which the photogenerated anion is the more mobile species. At larger fringe spacings, the polarity of the space charge field inverts due to dominance of a charge transport mechanism in which photogenerated holes are the most mobile species due to hole migration along the BEH-PPV chains coupled with interchain hole hopping. Control experiments are presented, which use composites that can access only one of the two charge transport mechanisms. The results show that charge migration over long distances leading to enhanced photorefractive effects can be obtained using conjugated polymers dissolved in liquid crystals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-20
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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