Skip to Main Content
Your organization might have access to this article on the publisher's site. To check, click on this link:http://dx.doi.org/+10.1063/1.1492863
We discuss the formation of pretilt by oblique irradiation of photosensitive polymers that homogeneously align liquid crystals in the direction corresponding to the maximum density of unreacted polymer. We show that a tilted polymer distribution is formed by oblique illumination with one beam of unpolarized or partially polarized light. When unpolarized radiation is used, a small azimuthal anisotropy is generated and the polymer tilt angle increases with incident angle. Pretilted liquid crystal alignment is possible up to a threshold angle at which the azimuthal alignment direction changes. Irradiation with partially polarized light gives a higher azimuthal anisotropy but smaller polymer tilt angles. We obtain liquid crystal pretilt angles up to 4° by oblique irradiation of polyimide with light from an excimer laser operating below the threshold for ablation. A simple two step process is used to obtain pretilted alignment for liquid crystals using surface gratings: a grating etched into polyimide by laser ablation is subsequently irradiated at oblique incidence to give planar liquid crystal alignment with a pretilt angle of 3°. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.