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Distant optical detection of small rotations and displacements by means of chiral liquid crystals
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The paper describes novel chiral viscoelastic liquid crystalline mixtures and their application for the detection of small rotational displacements of two plates confining cholesteric liquid crystals (CLC). The mixtures are characterized by extremely high viscosities and stability of the selective reflection band (SRB) at ambient temperatures. Even a small rotation applied to the chiral liquid crystal (CLC) cell results in dramatic changes of the reflective properties of sandwiched CLC films. The angle and direction of rotation as well as the magnitude of CLC's shear deformation can be determined for a variety of experimental geometries, each of which is characterized by its own response function. The proposed model explains changes in the reflection spectra for different experimental geometries and relates them to the angle of rotation and magnitude of shear. The method was tested for a detection of small rotations from a distance of up to 50 m and allows for resolving small rotations of the order of fractions of degrees.
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