Liquid Crystal Photonics

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Engineering

Abstract

Liquid crystal devices have come of age, having fulfilled their promise of several decades ago by increasingly dominating the market for displays. The industry has become global and the manufacturing is mostly in the Far East. This is not the end, but the beginning and UK scientists and engineers that have played a distinguished role in these developments must work with the global industry and develop strategies that enable us to remain engaged.We note that innovation continues rapidly and that the massive investment in this technology has produced a remarkable diversity of materials and electro-optic phenomena that are now starting to be applied in photonic devices in communications and the biosciences.The title Liquid Crystal Photonics is used to suggest that opto-electronics and displays should be embraced under one heading, reliant as they are on closely related optical functionality in similar materials. The strategic importance of phase-only real time holography by liquid crystal components is emerging into the marketplace in both optical communications and in displays. In displays the changes are probably going to be disruptive, producing highly miniature micro projectors with flexible control of all image attributes. Initially these are destined for 'micro projectors' for mobile phones etc., but will ultimately move to rear projection high definition TV. In optical communications the integration of several functions into software controlled modules matches closely the requirements of the now crucial metropolitan area network. Flexible, compact and low cost optical routers and add-drop-multiplexers for wavelength division (WDM) multiplexed systems may become a common sight in urban areas. The deep-sub-micron silicon CMOS technology that is used for liquid crystal over silicon (LCOS) backplanes is now mass producing complex low-cost integrated circuits with a minimum feature size below 100nm. We can therefore now electrically address liquid crystals using nano structure electrodes to open up applications requiring sub-wavelength photonic crystal structures (e.g. exhibiting electrically switchable surface alignment of liquid crystals, form birefringence and optical band gaps). As in the case of 'conventional' phase-only holography, the unique advantages resulting from the use of silicon CMOS backplanes are programmability and software control. It may be possible to enhance the already remarkable electro-optic properties of liquid crystals, enabling such properties as negative refractive index, programmable scattering and ultra-high-speed switching to be obtained.In general, liquid crystals respond dramatically to nano structures in the range from tens to hundreds of nanometres with or without electrical fields, e.g. liquid crystal director fields are aligned in contact with surface topography in this range. The interactions that occur between free particles embedded in nematic liquid crystals (due to both elastic interactions and Casimir interactions) are important issues in polymer based nano-composite materials and director deformations on this scale are important in structured dielectrics, semiconductors and conductors in the advance of polymer electronics. These are substantial areas of scientific and technological interest where the infra structure of liquid science and technology (that has been driven by the display industry) will be a major factor in future developments.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Summary of key Findings

• New concept of Coarse Integral Holography, which presented large size and large viewing angle 3D images with less than 10% of the computation load. The system set up and realisation of the demonstrator, both in state and in animation, show significant progress in this field. The know-how in

how to construct and generate holographic 3D

images will have long term impact on both the research and application in this field.

• A number of smectic A radiation control demonstrators for printed electronics and built environment. These have demonstrated tangible benefits in energy saving, retro-fitting capability, and long term reliability for construction industry and led to a technology transfer from the group for commercialisation.

• Identification of the critical areas for further research into WSS based on phase-only LCOS, namely crosstalk reduction, both transient and steady state, and switching speed. Our approach to solutions to these issues can be taken up by the manufacturers of these modules. A proof-of-concept LCOS WSS demonstrator built with the support of this Grant has attracted strong interest from all the top WSS manufacturers in the world, for both joint development and business exploitation.

• New results on microwave dielectric anisotropy of high birefringence liquid crystals and blends with nanoparticles, including the know-how relating to the fabrication of liquid crystal/carbon nanostructure blends. This could be used by manufacturers of tuneable RF components, such as phase-shifters, and antennas.

• Know-how relating to phase-only hologram design for phase-only LCOS devices used in high quality projection display, beam shaping and optical interconnects. This can be used in Head-Up Display (HUD), Precision laser micromachining, and in Wavelength Selective Switches (WSS) for ROADMs. This has been partially disseminated on the P&S group's web-site.

• Understanding of artefacts arising from the pixellated nature of the LCOS device in phase-only projection display and optical interconnect. We have designed primitive features for the next generation of devices. This can be used by manufacturers of HUD and WSS based on this device for next-generation products.



• 49 publications in peer reviewed journals; plus 11 patents and 34 conference presentations including several invited keynote and plenary;.
Exploitation Route The work led to a series of research activities in the field of large size large viewing angle 3D holographic displays, including the development of a new concept of Coarse Integral Holography (CIH) as jointly patented with Disney Research and reported at SID 2013, as well as a CAPE project COIN3D (1 April 2012 - 31 March 2013) which is now being continued. It has also led a industrial project to work on 3D holographic memory from Fujian Opto (1 April 2010 - 31 March 2013)



Alps Electric Japan is developing a Hologram Projector based on the work, and is aiming to start mass production in early 2014.



Earlier work in the group on the Smectic A bistable display led to a research collaboration with Dow Corning, through which new types of Semectic A materials with high reliability have been developed under a CAPE project SiLC.



A TSB award (Picture Window, PICWIN) to construct a demonstrator with hand laminated Smectic A cells for energy efficient buildings led from this garnt.
A number of smectic A radiation control demonstrators for printed electronics and built environment. These have demonstrated tangible benefits in energy saving, retro-fitting capability, and long term reliability for construction industry and led to a technology transfer from the group for commercialisation.




The Head-Up Display for automotive use, which was initiated under CAPE and supported by work on the Platform Grant, will be mass produced from next year ( via one of our industrial partners- confidential info).



Pathfinder Award from Cambridge Enterprise to prepare a business plan and has led to a spin-off company, ROADMap Systems Ltd, being formed.
Sectors Agriculture/ Food and Drink

 
Description start up companies: Roadmap Systems Ltd Camoptics Ltd
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Construction,Healthcare,Transport
Impact Types Economic

 
Description EPSRC
Amount £1,300,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Finisar
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation Finisar 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start  
 
Description Finisar
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation Finisar 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start  
 
Description Fujian Opto
Amount £258,000 (GBP)
Organisation Fujian Hongyang Opto-Electronics Technology 
Sector Private
Country China
Start  
 
Description Fujian Opto
Amount £258,000 (GBP)
Organisation Fujian Hongyang Opto-Electronics Technology 
Sector Private
Country China
Start  
 
Description Huawei
Amount £1,000,000 (GBP)
Organisation Huawei Technologies 
Sector Private
Country China
Start  
 
Description Huawei
Amount £1,000,000 (GBP)
Organisation Huawei Technologies 
Sector Private
Country China
Start  
 
Description STFC
Amount £382,000 (GBP)
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Samsung
Amount £178,000 (GBP)
Organisation Samsung 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start  
 
Description Samsung
Amount £178,000 (GBP)
Organisation Samsung 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start  
 
Description TSB
Amount £284,000 (GBP)
Organisation Technology Strategy Board (TSB) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Two Trees collaboration
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Organisation Two Trees Photonics 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Two Trees collaboration
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Organisation Two Trees Photonics 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Academic Collaboration 
Organisation Beihang University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have also been actively engaging with our Chinese academic collaborators. We exchanged two MoUs with Tsinghua and Nanjing Universities, respectively. As a result, the 1st Tsinghua-Cambridge Engineering Forum initiated jointly with Prof Zheng You at Tsinghua was held at Beijing in April 2013. We have also collaborated with Prof Ziwei Zhou and Prof Yongtian Wang of Beijing Institute of Technology in China. Prof Xiaoyu Jiang from their group spent one year (2009-10) with us, developed a highly efficient hologram calculation software package, which has been available on the group's web page free of charge since Oct 2010 and resulted in many downloads worldwide. A PhD student from their group also visited the group for six months and developed a system to demonstrate holographic 3D effect. This work further interested Prof Weiping Li from Behang University in Beijing, who spent six months in the group using it to study surface corrosions. In parallel, we have developed a collaboration with Prof Rong Zhang and Prof Yi Shi of Nanjing University in China, resulted two visits of their PhD students to our group. Our work on holographic projection has led to a collaboration with the group of Professor Yi-Hsin Lin of the National Chiao Tung University,Taiwan, which has resulted in two visits from Taiwanese PhD students to Cambridge.
 
Description Academic Collaboration 
Organisation Beijing Institute of Technology
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have also been actively engaging with our Chinese academic collaborators. We exchanged two MoUs with Tsinghua and Nanjing Universities, respectively. As a result, the 1st Tsinghua-Cambridge Engineering Forum initiated jointly with Prof Zheng You at Tsinghua was held at Beijing in April 2013. We have also collaborated with Prof Ziwei Zhou and Prof Yongtian Wang of Beijing Institute of Technology in China. Prof Xiaoyu Jiang from their group spent one year (2009-10) with us, developed a highly efficient hologram calculation software package, which has been available on the group's web page free of charge since Oct 2010 and resulted in many downloads worldwide. A PhD student from their group also visited the group for six months and developed a system to demonstrate holographic 3D effect. This work further interested Prof Weiping Li from Behang University in Beijing, who spent six months in the group using it to study surface corrosions. In parallel, we have developed a collaboration with Prof Rong Zhang and Prof Yi Shi of Nanjing University in China, resulted two visits of their PhD students to our group. Our work on holographic projection has led to a collaboration with the group of Professor Yi-Hsin Lin of the National Chiao Tung University,Taiwan, which has resulted in two visits from Taiwanese PhD students to Cambridge.
 
Description Academic Collaboration 
Organisation Nanjing University (NJU)
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have also been actively engaging with our Chinese academic collaborators. We exchanged two MoUs with Tsinghua and Nanjing Universities, respectively. As a result, the 1st Tsinghua-Cambridge Engineering Forum initiated jointly with Prof Zheng You at Tsinghua was held at Beijing in April 2013. We have also collaborated with Prof Ziwei Zhou and Prof Yongtian Wang of Beijing Institute of Technology in China. Prof Xiaoyu Jiang from their group spent one year (2009-10) with us, developed a highly efficient hologram calculation software package, which has been available on the group's web page free of charge since Oct 2010 and resulted in many downloads worldwide. A PhD student from their group also visited the group for six months and developed a system to demonstrate holographic 3D effect. This work further interested Prof Weiping Li from Behang University in Beijing, who spent six months in the group using it to study surface corrosions. In parallel, we have developed a collaboration with Prof Rong Zhang and Prof Yi Shi of Nanjing University in China, resulted two visits of their PhD students to our group. Our work on holographic projection has led to a collaboration with the group of Professor Yi-Hsin Lin of the National Chiao Tung University,Taiwan, which has resulted in two visits from Taiwanese PhD students to Cambridge.
 
Description Academic Collaboration 
Organisation National Chiao Tung University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have also been actively engaging with our Chinese academic collaborators. We exchanged two MoUs with Tsinghua and Nanjing Universities, respectively. As a result, the 1st Tsinghua-Cambridge Engineering Forum initiated jointly with Prof Zheng You at Tsinghua was held at Beijing in April 2013. We have also collaborated with Prof Ziwei Zhou and Prof Yongtian Wang of Beijing Institute of Technology in China. Prof Xiaoyu Jiang from their group spent one year (2009-10) with us, developed a highly efficient hologram calculation software package, which has been available on the group's web page free of charge since Oct 2010 and resulted in many downloads worldwide. A PhD student from their group also visited the group for six months and developed a system to demonstrate holographic 3D effect. This work further interested Prof Weiping Li from Behang University in Beijing, who spent six months in the group using it to study surface corrosions. In parallel, we have developed a collaboration with Prof Rong Zhang and Prof Yi Shi of Nanjing University in China, resulted two visits of their PhD students to our group. Our work on holographic projection has led to a collaboration with the group of Professor Yi-Hsin Lin of the National Chiao Tung University,Taiwan, which has resulted in two visits from Taiwanese PhD students to Cambridge.
 
Description Academic Collaboration 
Organisation Tsinghua University China
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have also been actively engaging with our Chinese academic collaborators. We exchanged two MoUs with Tsinghua and Nanjing Universities, respectively. As a result, the 1st Tsinghua-Cambridge Engineering Forum initiated jointly with Prof Zheng You at Tsinghua was held at Beijing in April 2013. We have also collaborated with Prof Ziwei Zhou and Prof Yongtian Wang of Beijing Institute of Technology in China. Prof Xiaoyu Jiang from their group spent one year (2009-10) with us, developed a highly efficient hologram calculation software package, which has been available on the group's web page free of charge since Oct 2010 and resulted in many downloads worldwide. A PhD student from their group also visited the group for six months and developed a system to demonstrate holographic 3D effect. This work further interested Prof Weiping Li from Behang University in Beijing, who spent six months in the group using it to study surface corrosions. In parallel, we have developed a collaboration with Prof Rong Zhang and Prof Yi Shi of Nanjing University in China, resulted two visits of their PhD students to our group. Our work on holographic projection has led to a collaboration with the group of Professor Yi-Hsin Lin of the National Chiao Tung University,Taiwan, which has resulted in two visits from Taiwanese PhD students to Cambridge.
 
Description Academic Collaborations 
Organisation Technical University of Darmstadt
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Our work in Liquid Crystal Photonics has engaged us with research groups, both UK and worldwide, interested in applying this technology. We have been working with A Fernandez (UCL), and S Day (UCL) to prepare a proposal for EPSRC on the engineering of high resolution LCOS devices for 3D display and compact WSS switching modules for telecoms. Our expertise in the doping of liquid crystal media with nanoparticles and microwave dielectric measurements on the composite system has led to collaborative work with the Technische Universitat Darmstadt (TUD) in Germany. This work was described in an editorial in the May 13th, 2010 issue of Electronics Letters called ?A fluid approach to microwaves?. This expertise with microwave measurements also led to a visit by Dean Evans and Gary Cook from USAF Wright-Patterson research lab in March 2011. They spent three days with us harvesting nanoparticles for liquid crystal composites for our tests. The group of Dr David Blaau, at the University of Michigan, contacted us to enquire about the possibility of using LCOS to communicate with ultracompact computing engines.
 
Description Academic Collaborations 
Organisation United States Air Force
Department USAF Wright-Patterson Research Lab
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Our work in Liquid Crystal Photonics has engaged us with research groups, both UK and worldwide, interested in applying this technology. We have been working with A Fernandez (UCL), and S Day (UCL) to prepare a proposal for EPSRC on the engineering of high resolution LCOS devices for 3D display and compact WSS switching modules for telecoms. Our expertise in the doping of liquid crystal media with nanoparticles and microwave dielectric measurements on the composite system has led to collaborative work with the Technische Universitat Darmstadt (TUD) in Germany. This work was described in an editorial in the May 13th, 2010 issue of Electronics Letters called ?A fluid approach to microwaves?. This expertise with microwave measurements also led to a visit by Dean Evans and Gary Cook from USAF Wright-Patterson research lab in March 2011. They spent three days with us harvesting nanoparticles for liquid crystal composites for our tests. The group of Dr David Blaau, at the University of Michigan, contacted us to enquire about the possibility of using LCOS to communicate with ultracompact computing engines.
 
Description Academic Collaborations 
Organisation University College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Our work in Liquid Crystal Photonics has engaged us with research groups, both UK and worldwide, interested in applying this technology. We have been working with A Fernandez (UCL), and S Day (UCL) to prepare a proposal for EPSRC on the engineering of high resolution LCOS devices for 3D display and compact WSS switching modules for telecoms. Our expertise in the doping of liquid crystal media with nanoparticles and microwave dielectric measurements on the composite system has led to collaborative work with the Technische Universitat Darmstadt (TUD) in Germany. This work was described in an editorial in the May 13th, 2010 issue of Electronics Letters called ?A fluid approach to microwaves?. This expertise with microwave measurements also led to a visit by Dean Evans and Gary Cook from USAF Wright-Patterson research lab in March 2011. They spent three days with us harvesting nanoparticles for liquid crystal composites for our tests. The group of Dr David Blaau, at the University of Michigan, contacted us to enquire about the possibility of using LCOS to communicate with ultracompact computing engines.
 
Description Academic Collaborations 
Organisation University of Michigan
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Our work in Liquid Crystal Photonics has engaged us with research groups, both UK and worldwide, interested in applying this technology. We have been working with A Fernandez (UCL), and S Day (UCL) to prepare a proposal for EPSRC on the engineering of high resolution LCOS devices for 3D display and compact WSS switching modules for telecoms. Our expertise in the doping of liquid crystal media with nanoparticles and microwave dielectric measurements on the composite system has led to collaborative work with the Technische Universitat Darmstadt (TUD) in Germany. This work was described in an editorial in the May 13th, 2010 issue of Electronics Letters called ?A fluid approach to microwaves?. This expertise with microwave measurements also led to a visit by Dean Evans and Gary Cook from USAF Wright-Patterson research lab in March 2011. They spent three days with us harvesting nanoparticles for liquid crystal composites for our tests. The group of Dr David Blaau, at the University of Michigan, contacted us to enquire about the possibility of using LCOS to communicate with ultracompact computing engines.
 
Title SmA Formulation 
Description SMa formulation paptent jointly with Dow Corning ( Siloxane SMAs) 
IP Reference  
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted
Licensed No