STTR Phase II: Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal (FLC) Gels for Facile Processing and High Yield Manufacture of Hardened FLC Displays

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0924709
Agency Tracking Number: 0741216
Amount: $499,981.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
2910 Regis Drive, Boulder, CO, 80305
DUNS: 165573762
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Michael Wand
 (303) 506-0723
Business Contact
 Michael Wand
Title: PhD
Phone: (303) 506-0723
Research Institution
 California Institute of Technology
 Lawrence Gilbert
 1200 E. California Blvd
M/C 210-85
Pasadena, CA, 91125 5757
 (626) 395-3066
 Nonprofit college or university
This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II project will enable the widespread use of ferroelectric liquid crystal (FLC) electro-optic devices, leading to a new generation of displays that have greater speed, higher resolution and lower power consumption than today's liquid crystals displays (LCDs), which use nematic LCs. A proprietary family of additives, ""polymer dopants"" demonstrated in Phase I, overcomes the main technical obstacles to large-scale application of FLC devices: manufacturing and stabilizing properly aligned cells. The proposed work will develop FLC-polymer materials that expedite processing and increase the yield of well-aligned FLC cells. In Phase I the team: 1) Identified side-group liquid crystal polymers that dissolve in FLC. , 2) Showed that the FLC-polymer mixtures retain fast electro-optic (EO) responses3) Demonstrated that the FLC-polymer mixtures robustly and rapidly adopt the proper alignment, giving bistable switching that is elusive in the FLC alone. In Phase II the team will establish the structure-activity relationships for polymer dopants. It will optimize the FLC-polymer mixtures to establish reliable processes to produce well aligned FLC cells in high yield at high production rates. Approximately 2x109 small flat panel displays are used annually in cell phones, PDAs, iPods, etc. Currently, nematic LCDs overwhelmingly dominate this market $20 billion/year in LCDs, manufactured using $350 million/year of LC materials. The additives developed in this project will allow FLCs to be processed into displays in this size range, providing a step-change in resolution and speed in LCDs. This will lay the foundation for moving FLCs into LCD TVs ($86.3 billion/year market in 2008, growing rapidly). Enabling commercial production of FLC displays 10 cm and up could revolutionize display technology and potentially fuel the growth of display manufacturers in the U.S. Scientifically, solutions of polymers in FLCs represent a nascent class of materials that has hardly been explored. This project is at the cutting edge of experimental research in LCs, providing the first glimpse into the consequences of orientational coupling in chiral smectic LCs.

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

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