SBIR Phase II: Ion and Radical-Free, Polymer-Stabilized, Vertically-Aligned Nematic LCDs for Enhanced Lifetime

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase II
Award Id:
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Phase II
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
2910 Regis Drive, Boulder, CO, 80305-5329
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Michael Wand
(303) 506-0723
Business Contact:
Michael Wand
(303) 506-0723
Research Institution:

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will develop a new type of process to improve the quality and reduce the cost of large liquid crystal displays (LCDs), particularly those used for energy efficient high-definition televisions. Rather than the existing approaches that synthesize a polymer inside the display, this research examines polymers synthesized and purified outside of the display. Side-group liquid crystal polymers (SGLCPs) will be developed that can be used at low concentration as dopants in the liquid crystal mixture that is the active medium in the LCD. Chemical variations on the successful SGLCPs discovered in Phase I will establish molecular-level understanding of the mechanism of the beneficial effects of the dopant. Effects of the dopants on processing behavior (e.g., the process of filling the flat panel) and ultimate performance will be characterized; the results will guide industrial implementation of the dopants. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project on new polymer dopants include improved performance of LCD-TVs, especially in the rapidly growing HDTV segment. Liquid crystal displays are widely used in televisions due to their low operating voltage, low power consumption and thin form factor. Polymer additives will be developed that increase the switching speed, enhance the brightness, improve the viewing angle and maintain the excellent dark state and high contrast that are the hallmarks of vertically-aligned nematic liquid crystal displays (VAN-LCDs). The potential revenues of these compounds could reach $100 million annually within a few years. Scientifically, polymer dopants in LCs represent an entirely new field of science and technology. Finally, this collaborative research will involve a combination of microsynthesis, polymer and LC physical properties and LC display fabrication that will confer upon its principals a comprehensive perspective on the transition of discoveries into competitive product offerings.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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