A brand new technique to change the structure of liquid crystals may result in the development of fast-responding liquid crystals appropriate for next-gen displays—3-D, augmented and virtual reality—and superior photonic applications corresponding to mirrorless lasers, bio-sensors and fast or slow light generation, in line with an international group of researchers from Penn State, the Air Force Analysis Laboratory and the National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan.
Blue-phase liquid crystals usually self-gather into a cubic photonic-crystal structure. The researchers believed that by creating other structures, they might develop properties not present in the existing form. After practically two years of experiments, they realized that by applying an alternate electrical field and permitting the system to relax between applications and to dissipate accumulated heat, they might slowly influence the crystals into secure and field-free orthorhombic and tetragonal structures.
The resulting liquid crystals present a photonic bandgap that may be tailored to anywhere inside the visible spectrum and possess fast responses mandatory for a wide range of next-gen shows and advanced photonic functions. The addition of a polymer to the crystals may stabilize them in a wide temperature range, from freezing to just about boiling-point in comparison with their typical pristine counterparts, which might be stable in only a 5-degree range. The polymer scaffold further accelerates the switching response.
In the newest research, the group is applying the teachings learned in this research to create new crystal structures and orientations utilizing the electric field from a laser source.