SBIR Phase II: A New Class of Complex Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal Mesogens for Advanced Electro-Optic Devices

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0646460
Agency Tracking Number: 0539835
Amount: $499,999.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2007
Solicitation Year: 2005
Solicitation Topic Code: EL
Solicitation Number: NSF 05-557
Small Business Information
Displaytech Incorporated
2602 CLOVER BASIN DR, Suite 110, LONGMONT, CO, 80503
DUNS: 151045382
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Yongqiang Zhang
 (303) 772-2191
Business Contact
 Yongqiang Zhang
Title: PhD
Phone: (303) 772-2191
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project aims to exploit novel dimer ferroelectric liquid crystals (FLCs) to develop a new class of materials for electro-optics (EO) and non-linear optics (NLO) that offer previously unobtainable properties. This will enable advanced optoelectronic products across multiple markets, from lasers for projection television to 100GHz integrated electro-optic modulators and switches for optical interconnects and telecommunications. For over 100 years, predominant liquid crystal molecules have been variants on simple rod shapes. This innovation exploits new dimers - a side-by-side pair of conventional rod-shaped FLC molecules connected by a pi-conjugated bridge engineered to be part of a strong NLO chromophore. It is difficult and expensive to build integrated optoelectronic devices using lithium niobate, today's dominant NLO material. Organic poled-polymer NLO materials offer significant advantages for integration, but suffer performance and stability limitations due to being thermodynamically unstable and non-centrosymmetric (required to be NLO active). FLCs are intrinsically non-centrosymmetric and thermodynamically stable, offering an ideal scaffolding for creating high densities of strong, oriented, NLO chromophores. Our Phase II objectives are to develop and demonstrate prototype materials for projection television laser light sources and electro-optic modulation, and to design a product that will be used in projection television lasers. Commercially, this SBIR Phase II project will advance the scientific and technological understanding of a new class of dimer ferroelectric liquid crystals, and will produce the first commercially significant liquid crystals not based on simple rod-shaped molecules. Consumer products will include higher image quality, lower cost, rear projection televisions and practical, bright, micro-projectors for portable electronics. Integrated electro-optic devices enabled by the NLO materials will help to expand the bandwidth of computer and telecommunication networks, and of interconnects within coming generations of faster computers.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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