- optical microsecond switches,
- practical method,
The liquid crystal alignment method described here provides uniform orientation of otherwise difficult-to-align smectic-A liquid crystal materials lacking a nematic phase. The smectic-A phase is grown in the presence of a 10–20 K/mm temperature gradient from an air bubble located within a cell by a photolithographically defined channel in the cell substrates. We obtain uniform layer alignment in millimeter-wide smectic regions at growth rates below about 0.05 μm/s even though there is a tendency for spontaneous nucleation of focal-conic defects at higher growth rates once the width of the smectic-A region exceeds the critical value of about 20 μm.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/philip_bos/59/