STTR Phase I: Nano-Structured Surfaces for Advanced Liquid Crystal Displays and Electro-Optic Devices

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Displaytech Incorporated
2602 Clover Basin Drive, Longmont, CO, 80503
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Michael Ocallaghan
(303) 774-2272
Business Contact:
Michael Ocallaghan
(303) 774-2272
Research Institution:
Harvard University
Michael J Aziz
1350 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA, 02138
(617) 495-9884
Nonprofit college or university
This Small Business Technology Transfer Phase (STTR) I research project aims to test the feasibility of combining recent advances in the science and technology of ferroelectric liquid crystals with advances in nanoscale feature engineering (sputter rippling) to produce a new generation of displays and advanced electro-optic devices. Not only do the new liquid crystals offer novel, high performance displays, they would also enable heretofore impractical advances in optical data storage, optical beam steering, adaptive optics, and telecommunications. However, present day liquid crystal cell technology does not provide the conditions needed for proper operation of the new liquid crystals. Inorganic conducing surfaces formed through nanoscale engineering offer a solution to this problem. They also have the potential to displace decades-old cell technologies used in conventional liquid crystal products due to their greater uniformity and their compatibility with advanced manufacturing processes. The project will produce a variety of nanoscale surface topographies on inorganic conductive surfaces that are suitable for liquid crystals cells, and to test their ability to align liquid crystals. Cells made from the experimental surfaces will be tested to determine whether or not they produce the expected performance benefits. If successful, the proposed technology will enable high brightness microprojectors with performance superior to flat panel displays while being similar in form. It is expected the advantages to be especially compelling for automotive navigation and entertainment displays. These technical advances will also enable spatial light modulators for beam steering and adaptive optics, and holographic data storage (HDS) write heads capable of higher data rates and capable of correcting for HDS optical non-uniformities. The project will be exploring new territory in using sputter rippling to form anisotropic nanostructures on inorganic conducting surfaces such as indium-tin-oxide on glass, and aluminum on silicon (materials used in FLC microdisplays). This work will also advance knowledge of important liquid crystal-surface interaction forces, key to developing advanced electro-optic devices.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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