Novel liquid crystal filters for laser protection: understanding the physics of new modes and their incorporation in devices

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy


Liquid crystals have great potential as switchable optical filters as they are responsive, rapid and can offer excellent optical extinction. However, no current technology has the combination of properties necessary for effective dynamic protection against laser illumination. This proposal develops new approaches to using liquid crystals in optical filters. The solutions have the potential to be rapid, switching on the microsecond timescale, have high optical density, and offer both absorptive and reflective options. The liquid crystal modes that will be employed include: helielectric deformation in ferroelectric and antiferroelectric systems; field-induced phase changes between reflecting and non-reflecting frustrated phases, bistable absorptive modes; and optically isotropic electro-optic effects. The last approach makes use of an entirely new electro-optic response in liquid crystals that has exciting potential for switchable technology. In addition to exploring the potential of completely new electro-optic switching modes, we will examine new device modes that will include surface modifications to induce bistability, allowing low power operation, and including the liquid crystal in completely new protective device geometries.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509681/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1823177 Studentship EP/N509681/1 01/10/2016 31/03/2020 Ethan Jull
Description Further development and investigations have been conducted on photosensitive liquid crystal elements giving further insight into their physics and potential application to novel optical devices.
Exploitation Route These findings could be taken forward to further develop new and interesting optical devices.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Electronics,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Security and Diplomacy,Transport

Description British Liquid Crystal Society Student Travel Award
Amount £250 (GBP)
Organisation British Liquid Crystal Society 
Sector Learned Society
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2018 
End 08/2018
Description Institute of Physics Student Travel Award
Amount £300 (GBP)
Organisation Institute of Physics (IOP) 
Sector Learned Society
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2018 
End 08/2018
Description Development of novel photopatterned liquid crystal devices 
Organisation Osaka Sangyo University
Country Japan 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Development of chrome photo-mask for use in development of photopatterned liquid crystal substrates at Osaka Sangyo University.
Collaborator Contribution Development of photopatterned device substrates for later use as a liquid crystal switchable optical device.
Impact Manuscript in preparation for publication in Optics Express.
Start Year 2018
Description Pint of Science Public Engagement 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Pint of Science is a worldwide festival which brings current academic research to the general public all in the comfort of a pub. We host multiple nights and themes every year ranging from astrophysics to nanotechnology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019
Description Research Nights Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Research nights focusses on postgraduate researchers giving talks on their topics to the general public in the students union at the University of Leeds.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018