The following is based on the presentation made by Christopher N. Bowman, recipient of the MRS Outstanding Investigator Award, at the 1997 MRS Spring Meeting.
I would like to focus on our recent work involving photopolymerizations of monomers in a liquid-crystalline environment. This work is one of the many aspects of photopolymerizations that we are focusing on at the University of Colorado. In particular this effort concentrates on understanding the influence of a liquid-crystalline medium and monomer segregation on polymerization behavior and polymer structure. These studies are of considerable importance for polymer-stabilized ferroelectric liquid crystals (FLCs) because of the enormous potential impact on the area.
I will briefly introduce liquid crystals (LCs), FLCs, and photopolymerizations. I will then discuss the observed electrooptic properties and how these properties change as the LC phase during polymerization is varied. Finally I will address how polymerization kinetics are affected by the LC phase and monomer segregation. This discussion will include results from x-ray diffraction, polarized infrared spectroscopy, and differential scanning calorimetry experiments.