SBIR Phase I: Bistable FLCs using Siloxanes

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0539885
Agency Tracking Number: 0539885
Amount: $99,971.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: 2005
Solicitation Topic Code: EL
Solicitation Number: NSF 05-557
Small Business Information
Displaytech Incorporated
2602 Clover Basin Drive, Longmont, CO, 80503
DUNS: N/A
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 William Thurmes
 Dr
 (303) 772-2191
 thurmes@displaytech.com
Business Contact
 William Thurmes
Title: Dr
Phone: (303) 772-2191
Email: thurmes@displaytech.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project aims to develop commercially practical bistable FLC displays. Ferroelectric liquid crystals (FLCs) attractively combine a high speed electro-optic effect with very low-power drive, but, absent bistability, suffer restrictions on operational duty cycle that limit achievable display brightness. Exciting results obtained recently with an organosiloxane FLC compound suggest that it overcomes smectic layer shrinkage and surface interaction problems that have until now foiled FLC bistability. The work proposed here seeks to show that this singular result can be extended to other related compounds, setting the stage for Phase II development of bistable FLC mixtures engineered to have fast switching with suitable switching angles over the broad temperature ranges needed for practical applications. Further, it seeks to show that deficiencies in aligning compounds of this type can be overcome to give improved contrast ratio. The Phase I effort includes synthesis and evaluation of new siloxane mesogen compounds; formulation of mixtures from new and existing compounds, and evaluation of conventional as well as novel alignment treatments. Fundamental scientific questions about liquid crystal phase behavior and surface interactions lie at the heart of the remarkable recent results which the proposed work will begin to answer. Commercially, bistable FLC devices will enable micro-projection displays utilizing new high-brightness LED and laser light sources. Micro-projectors deliver flat panel display functionality with higher performance and lower cost than conventional approaches such as AMLCDs. Initial applications include sunlight readable, reconfigurable automotive dashboard, entertainment, and navigation displays, a 15-million-unit, $100MM market. Ultimate success would include penetration of the multi-billion-dollar laptop computer, monitor, and television display markets. FLC bistability further enables high-performance write heads for emerging holographic data storage markets.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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