Imaging liquid crystals dispersed in a ferroelectric polymer matrix by means of thermal-pulse tomography

Rosaura Flores Suárez, Lakshmi Meena Ganesan, Werner Wirges, Reimund Gerhard, Axel Mellinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new arrangement of the optical elements in a Thermal-Pulse-Tomography (TPT) setup allows to scan micrometer structures in composite and heterogeneous samples such as polymer-dispersed liquid crystals (PDLCs). The non-destructive TPT technique allows the determination of three-dimensional profiles of polarization and space charge in dielectrics. The samples under study were 12 m thick films of a copolymer of vinylidene fluoride with trifluoroethylene P(VDF-TrFE) (65/35) with embedded liquid-crystal droplets. The poling process was performed in direct contact well above the coercive field of the copolymer. The 3D map obtained from scanning with a 10 m wide spot shows elliptically shaped areas with liquid-crystal droplets. Considering the droplets as oblate spheroids, their major axis lies in the x-y plane, while their minor axis in the z direction measures 0.5 m or more. This result is in good agreement with scanning electron micrographs. It is believed that the major axis is overestimated due to imaging of liquid-crystal clusters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5539683
Pages (from-to)1123-1127
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • PDLC
  • TPT
  • Thermal-pulse tomography
  • dielectrics
  • nematic liquid-crystal
  • polarization profile
  • poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-trifluoroethylene)
  • polymers
  • pyroelectric effect


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