Abstract

Phase separation has been an interesting and important topic in liquid crystal (LC)–polymer composites. We investigated the photopolymerization-induced phase separation in an LC–polymer composite through a maskless lithographic system based on an amplitude-modulated spatial light modulator. By optimizing both exposure conditions and materials, we achieved a two-dimensional (2D) liquid crystal droplet array (LCDA) in the LC–polymer composite. Further investigations revealed that such 2D LCDAs, working as microlens arrays, demonstrated polarization-independent, electrically tunable focusing properties under a certain voltage. With advantages in cost-effectiveness, fast fabrication, and polarization-independent, electrically tunable focusing, such phase-separated microlens arrays in the LC–polymer composite could find many potential optical applications.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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