We present a simple and economically convenient method to fabricate nanopatterned ZnO films by imprinting lithography and use them for the layer alignment of liquid crystal (LC) displays. First, a one-dimensional nanopattern was obtained by laser interference lithography on a silicon wafer, and the silicon mold replica was transferred onto a flexible polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) sheet for conformal patterning. The so-obtained PDMS mold was then applied on a ZnO film spin-coated on a glass substrate. During the imprinting process, the temperature was controlled from 100 to 250 °C to observe the transferring morphologies of the ZnO film; the nanopattern was successfully transferred at annealing temperatures of 200 and 250 °C because the ZnO film at the sol state filled the cavities of the PDMS nanopattern and solidified, forming a negative replica of the nanopattern. The direction of the nanopatterned ZnO film served as a guide for aligning the LC molecules on the LC surface at the centimeter scale and, due to their elastic characteristics and group behavior, propagating their directional states in the LC bulk. The resulting LC cell exhibited an enhanced electro-optical performance and high thermal endurance above 180 °C. The geometry of the alignment layer increased the electric field on the ZnO film and showed reduced threshold voltage. In addition, since flexible devices are generally based on polyimide, which imidized at around 200 °C, the relatively low annealing temperatures of our fabricated nanopatterned ZnO film allow it to be mounted on such devices without any deterioration of the underlying thermoplastic substrate. Therefore, nanopatterned ZnO has a considerable potential for advanced LC displays.
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© 2022 American Chemical Society
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Materials Science
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces