We demonstrate experimentally that bare solid surfaces with adsorbed organic molecules can orient liquid crystals after UV light irradiation. The detailed structure and behavior of the surface-adsorbed molecules are not important to the effect: just their UV light absorption should depend on their orientation. The only requirement to the solid substrates is their transparency to the UV light. The universal reason for the photoinduced anisotropy in such systems is that photons clean from the surface those molecules that absorb them most intensively. This is a kind of light rubbing resulting in the anisotropic ablation of the adsorbed material.
Copright 2006 Institute of Physics. Available on publisher's website at http://dx.doi.org/10.1209/epl/i2006-10122-9.
Nazarenko, V. G.; Boiko, O. P.; Nych, A. B.; Nastishin, Yuriy A.; Pergamenshchik, V. M.; Bos, Philip J. (2006). Selective Light-Induced Desorption: The Mechanism of Photoalignment of Liquid Crystals at Adsorbing Solid Surfaces. Europhysics Letters 75(3) 448-454. Retrieved from https://oaks.kent.edu/cpippubs/25