SBIR Phase II: Liquid Crystal-based Next Generation e-paper Devices by Micro-engineered Surfaces

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Principal Investigator
 Hailiang Zhang
 (310) 868-8072
Business Contact
 Hailiang Zhang
Phone: (310) 868-8072
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project focuses on development of low power consumption, bistable memory nematic liquid crystal display (LCD) devices for e-book and mobile applications, based on the micro-engineered surface alignment (MESA) technology. The MESA-LCD innovatively implements new photoaligment materials and processes, combined with unique maskless UV pattern generator, to achieve bistability and performance requirements for portable devices. It is suitable for mass production and also on flexible substrates, also compatible with existing manufacturing infra-structure of LCDs. In Phase-I, the controlled weak anchoring have been successfully demonstrated, and the process has been developed to reduce the driving voltage by one order of magnitude. The main challenge in Phase-II is to reduce the driving voltage down to 0.1v/ìm. The main objectives and approaches in Phase-II are: (1) to develop a passive matrix MESA-LCD prototype (the first generation) for presenting to the potential investors; (2) to optimize the photoalignment process for driving voltage reduction, (3) to develop an active matrix MESA-LCD prototype (second generation) with the optimized photoalignment material and process, with establishment of large scale manufacturing processes. Anticipated Phase-II results would be the successful development of MESA-LCD prototypes for commercialization. The broader impacts/commercial potential will be that the MESA-LCD related technologies will benefit from the low power, high contrast ratio and high resolution. Success of this project will enable a high performance and low cost MESA-LCD that have a significant market opportunity in mobile devices to bring users information and Entertainment, offer users a convergent display experience, with paper-like readability, significantly less power consumption, and video-rate response times. The most important market the MESA-LCD addresses is e-paper and e-book market. When the MESA-LCD based e-book and e-paper are fully developed, one device can hold tens or hundreds of books or content, decreasing the burden of students' backpacks, saving bookshelf space, and reducing shipping costs. Also huge amount of paper will be saved, which is a good contribution to the environment. Besides the e-book and e-paper market, MESA-LCD can also be used in variousapplications such as price tag and sale-announcement displays on shelves and throughout the retail stores, cell phones and other hand-hold devices, display products for security and hospitality, and display for industrial controls.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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