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CLC Pigments

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The Cholesteric liquid crystal (CLC) pigments are fabricated with CLC films rather CLC polymers. The polymers are typically cross linked materials which have their molecules "locked" during the cholesteric phase. Now this enables the unique and brilliant optical properties of a liquid crystal to be exploited to the hilt in a solid pigment. Each of the flake in the pigment is a piece of microfilm in a platelet form. It has dimensions of around 5 micron in thickness. Cholesteric liquid crystal or CLC polymer film is kind of naturally reflective polarizer. If the center wavelength is set in a way, to be within the visible spectra, then it is possible to create color travel effects through a circular polarized reflection. A typical structure of CLC structure is given below:

CLC Pigments

Key Properties of CLCs

For enabling a good special effect pigment, that is to be derived from a CLC (cholesteric liquid crystal technology), some sort of modification needs to be done to several properties of CLCs

Cholesteric Liquid Crystals Requirements for Pigment application
Periodic structure (facilitates color travel) Temperature Insensitive (Color Fixed)
Thermochromic (change of color with temperature) Fairly Durable Properties wrt temperature, chemical resistance needed
Alignment is needed Good processing i.e. ease in manufacture is needed
Highly aromatic nature

Optical Properties of CLC Pigments
A diagram can betterly describe the optical properties of CLC pigments, such as :

CLC Pigments

It is to be understood here, that quite unlike the metal interference systems, CLCs can develop their color reflection through a single layer only.

Color travelling properties of CLC Pigments
CLC pigments show very good blue-shifting color travel as illustrated in this graphical representation.

CLC Pigments

Advantages of CLC Pigments

Application of CLC pigments

CLC pigments are increasingly applied as a deterrence for counterfeit in banknotes, securing documents, and in authentication processes to protect brand and products. Light that is reflected from a CLC is circularly polarized, this effect finds very popular application in security and machine read applications.

CLC Pigments

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