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We demonstrate enhanced surface anchoring energy and control of pretilt angle in a nematic liquid crystal cell with vertical alignment and polymerized surfaces (PS-VA). The polymerized surfaces are formed by ultraviolet (UV) irradiation-induced phase separation of a minute amount of a reactive monomer in the vertical-aligned nematic liquid crystal. By introducing a bias voltage during UV curing, surface-localized polymer protrusions with a dimension of 100nm and a field-induced pretilt angle are observed. Experimental evidences and theoretical analyses validate that PS-VA has increased surface anchoring strength by two folds and pretilt angle has been changed from 89° to 86° compared to those of a VA cell. The enabling PS-VA cell technique with excel electro-optical properties such as very good dark state, high optical contrast, and fast rise and decay times may lead to development of a wide range of applications.


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