The formation of different structures in phase-separated composite films (PSCOFs) from formulations of liquid crystals and photocurable monomers has been investigated using polarizing optical and scanning electron microscopies. Two processes, spatially nonuniform polymerization and diffusion of small molecules, play important roles in determining a specific PSCOF polymer structure. The variations in UV irradiation intensity and temperature, at which phase separation is carried out, strongly influence these two processes and can change the resultant structure from a homogeneous PSCOF bilayer structure to a heterogeneous polymer dispersed liquid crystal (PDLC) structure. A variation in cell thickness changes the distance through which small molecules have to diffuse during phase separation and, thus, affects the structure obtained in thick and thin cells.
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