Accessibility statement

Large EPSRC Grant Win for Liquid Crystals Research

Posted on 2 November 2011

Professor John Goodby FRS, Doctors Stephen Cowling and Isabel Saez and Professor Peter Raynes FRS have been awarded a research grant by the EPSRC entitled "Self-Organisation and Self-Assembly in Aliphatic Based Liquid Crystals" to start at the beginning of 2012. The total value of the grant is over £800,000.

Photo of Goodby, Cowling, Saez & Raynes

The programme is concerned with the directed self-organization of liquid crystals and their applications in advanced display technologies.

Modern liquid crystal displays (monitors and TVs) currently use nematic based technologies where the response times are of the order of milliseconds. Such times are an issue for future display devices, for example 3D, multiscreen and frame sequential colour displays where the refresh rates are moving towards 200-400 Hz.

Ferroelectric liquid crystals offer an advantage over nematic technology because they can operate 10-100 times faster, but the current materials do not have physical property requirements that are suitable for large area display applications. Part of the project aims to develop a new class of ferroelectric SmC liquid crystals whose structures are to be controlled through directed self-organization via the use of the self-assembling properties of nanophase segregating groups. Using these molecular design features we propose to create new liquid crystals with desirable properties.

Small portable displays, such as those found in e-readers often suffer from poor visibility outdoors, and those that are visible often do not operate at video-frame rates. A second aspect of the programme is to develop new liquid crystal systems that will scatter incident light, thereby making them easily readable in daylight viewing. Through the use of nanophase segregating groups in directed self-organization of smectic liquid crystals materials will be created with suitable properties for applications in bistable mode devices where an electric field will be only used to switch the display, thereby improving on battery life.