Author(s): Strangi G, Cazzanelli E, Scaramuzza N, Versace C, Bartolino R
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Abstract An interesting application of the fast ion transport properties of tungsten trioxide is presented, when it is inserted as an electrode in nematic liquid crystal (NLC) cells. In a standard sandwichlike cell the nematic liquid crystal, confined between two transparent plane electrodes of purely electronic conductors [indium tin oxide (ITO)], undergoes a molecular reorientation under the action of an external electric field E. This electrically controlled birefringence (electro-optical switching) is proportional to E2, thus polarity insensitive [L. M. Blinov and V. G. Chigrinov, Electrooptic Effects in Liquid Crystal Materials (Springer-Verlag, New York, 1994)]. When a thin film of tungsten trioxide is deposited by magnetron sputtering onto one of the transparent ITO electrodes, and a NLC cell is assembled with such asymmetry, the electro-optical response becomes polarity sensitive [G. Strangi et al., Appl. Phys. Lett. 74, 534 (1999)]. The analysis of this response suggests the occurrence of a reverse internal electric field, associated with the ionic diffusion process of protons always present in these sputtered WO3 films [E. Cazzanelli et al., Electrochim. Acta 44, 3101 (1999)]. By using an opportune voltage waveform it is possible to evaluate such an internal field. Impedance and cyclic voltammetry measurements were carried out on these cells, comparing "as-deposited" and "annealed" tungsten trioxide electrodes. These studies confirm that an important ionic diffusion process is involved in the establishment of an internal electric field, which modifies the electro-optical response of the nematic liquid crystal cell.
This article was published in Phys Rev E Stat Phys Plasmas Fluids Relat Interdiscip Topics
and referenced in Chemical Sciences Journal