Introduction to
Polymer-Dispersed Liquid Crystals

Polymer-dispersed liquid crystals (PDLCs) are a relatively new class of materials that hold promise for many applications ranging from switchable windows to projection displays. These materials, which are simply a combined application of polymers and liquid crystals, are the focus of extensive research in the display industry.

PDLCs consist of liquid crystal droplets that are dispersed in a solid polymer matrix. The resulting material is a sort of "swiss cheese" polymer with liquid crystal droplets filling in the holes. These tiny droplets (a few microns across for practical applications) are responsible for the unique behavior of the material. By changing the orientation of the liquid crystal molecules with an electric field, it is possible to vary the intensity of transmitted light.

The following sections explain the principle of operation of PDLC devices as well as the techniques used to manufacture them.

Virtual Textbook Preparation of PDLCs