SBIR Phase I: Germanium Liquid Crystals for Perfect Displays

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0340407
Agency Tracking Number: 0340407
Amount: $99,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: 2003
Solicitation Topic Code: EL
Solicitation Number: NSF 03-535
Small Business Information
2602 Clover Basin Drive, Longmont, CO, 80503
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Michael Wand
 (303) 772-2191
Business Contact
 Michael Wand
Phone: (303) 774-2297
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project proposes to explore the development of a fundamentally new class of ferroelectric liquid crystals (FLCs) containing germanium. Only one germanium liquid crystal compound has been prepared until this year. A new germanium compound has shown tremendous promise in revolutionizing the scope of FLC devices. The Phase I objectives are to synthesize 20 new compounds and to explore the unique properties of this fundamentally new class of LCs, applying the findings towards commercial application. Anticipated results include an improved understanding of the physical, chemical, and optical properties of these new materials, and the identification of further FLC material and cell advances that need to be achieved in Phase II for subsequent commercialization. The new class of FLCs may afford a more durable device showing broader temperature range and lower birefringence (ease of manufacture), and most of all, operate in both analog and bistable modes. The commercial application of this project is in optical communications. Because germanium FLCs have the potential to afford both analog and bistable operation (a result of bookshelf layer structure) many areas will be opened to commercialization. Phase modulation is the foundation for electro-optical beam steering and optical wave front correction, which find application in free-space optical communications, in beam steering and beam shaping for laser radar in aviation, and in active optics. The new FLCs will also enable higher performance megabit write-heads for emerging holographic data storage, and will be useful for optical information processing. In addition, fast, bistable LCs have been needed for FLC displays, allowing access to the multibillion-dollar projection display market.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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