SBIR Phase I: A New Class of Ferroelectric Liquid Crystals for High Performance Optical Phase Modulation

Period of Performance: 01/01/2003 - 12/31/2003


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Displaytech Incorporated
Longmont, CO 80503
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will explore the development of a new class of ferroelectric liquid crystal (FLC) materials and a novel FLC operating mode to produce fast, analog, electro-optical phase modulation. The innovation exploits two new developments in the science and technology of FLCs: bent-core FLCs and electrostatically controlled analog modulation of high polarization FLCs. The Phase I objectives are to formulate enhanced materials of the new-type FLCs and use them to test the feasibility of the proposed electro-optic modulation mode. Anticipated results include an assessment of the innovation's feasibility, an improved understanding of the physical, chemical, and optical properties of these new materials, and the identification of further FLC material and cell advances that need to be achieved in Phase II for subsequent commercialization. The new phase modulators will be much faster than existing modulators made with nematic LCs and will operate at lower drive voltage. They will also achieve a full 360 degrees range of pure analog phase modulation with no optic axis rotation, a goal that has been impossible to reach using conventional FLCs.