1. Prepare • Put on the plastic gloves • With the materials, move to a dark room or a room without sunlight• Safety first!• Sunlight will solidify the mixture in the black container, this is important later!
2. Clean the ITO-Labeled side of glass • Clean the ITO-Labeled side of glass with the alcohol pads • Remember which side is labeled ITO or simply place the ITO side face up.• ITO stands for “Indium-Tin Oxide” which is allows electricity to travel through the glass surface• Dust may heat up and burn when the glass is switched on. Small black burn marks will appear!• If you lose track of which side is coated in ITO, you can use a voltmeter, the conductive side will show a voltage.
3. Stir the mixture, slowly, in the dark • Stir for five (5) minutes, slowly • If it is exposed to sunlight, or any UV light, it will solidify—this is important! • Light bulbs are okay!• The mixture is made out of “Polymers, Liquid Crystals, and Spacers”• The liquid crystals, small droplets that have special interactions with electricity, are held in place by the polymer• The “Spacers” are small beads that help keep the glass apart• DO NOT consume this mixture, as it is toxic to humans.
4. Pour the mixture onto one ITO glass • The mixture should be poured onto the ITO side! It should be the one that is face up! • Pouring more is okay! • Less will be bad! • Spread the mixture with the stirring stick across the surface• This half gram mixture contains 70% E7 Type Liquid Crystal and 30% NOA 136 Polymer.• The Spacers 8 microns (micrometers, or one millionth of a meter) thick
5. Sandwich the two glasses together • The ITO sides should be on the inside! • It’s easiest to put the dry glass on top of the other! • There should be two small squares in the corners, where the glass does not overlap! • Clean off the edges of the glass • The excess mixture off of the sides is why it is okay to have too much! • We need two exposes spots on each glass for later!
6. Apply pressure to the glass! • Textbooks or binder clips do the best job!• This is where the spacers are important! All parts of the glass will be evenly separated by eight microns!
7. Expose to sunlight until foggy • The mixture, when exposed to UV (ultraviolet rays) hardens. • The mixture becomes foggy, or opaque. • This process can be sped up with a UV lamp, or a black light – 10-20 minutes Photo-Induced Phase separation:In order for the Liquid Crystal – Polymer mixture to solidify once it is sandwiched between the conductive glass it needs to go through PIPS or Photo-Induced Phase separation. The sample must be exposed to UV light so that light sensitive materials in the mixture can begin to solidify forming Liquid Crystal droplets suspended in a hardened polymer matrix.
8. Insert the glass into the housing • The smart glass should fit snugly inside the housing. At this point, the two surfaces should not shift. • Bend the copper electrodes and the black fastening clips to the glass • Each copper electrode should touch the exposed ITO layer of the glass • Secure the electrodes with conductive tape Congratulations! Flip the switch and watch the magic!