Transparency and stability to UV light are important and desirable properties for modern tunable optical elements and active soft robots. A library of novel reactive mesogens for liquid crystal polymer networks resilient and transparent to UV light has been synthetised and characterised. Phase behaviours of the reactive mesogens have been determined by polarised optical microscopy and differential scanning calorimetry. Liquid crystal polymer networks based on the combination of these novel reactive mesogens have been evaluated and compared to those based on common commercially available compounds. The results showed a twofold increase in transparency in a broad UV spectral region (200–400 nm) and importantly showed no degradation upon prolonged UV exposure contrary to the networks composed from commercial counterparts.
- liquid crystal polymer networks
- Liquid crystals
- reactive mesogens
- UV transparent
- liquid crystal elastomers