In our group we collaborate with universities, research institutes and industry in different research projects. Below some of our projects are discussed:
Complex optical systems can be found in camera's, lenses, glasses and specialized applications. Tuning an optical component is usually done manually or with a motorized mechanical system, which has sometimes limited reliabilty in environments with dust or humidity. Optical components based on liquid crystals have the advantage that there are no moving parts (except the rotation of molecules in the enclosed device) and they can be driven with a small voltage. In collaboration with BPHOT at the VUB and CMST at UGent and industrial partners, we investigate the possibilities in this field in the SECONDOS project.
In the framework of a "Hercules" grant, we have acquired a state-of-the-art Nikon Eclipse TI-2000 confocal and fluorescence microscope, and extended it with optical tweezer and particle tracking capabilities. This infrastructure is used in a large number of projects, and can occasionally be opened up for use by third parties. Interested parties can contact us to discuss the terms of such an agreement.
Electronic ink displays based on black and white colloidal particles are now quite popular (Kindle, Sony E-reader) as they feature excellent sunlight-readability and long operation times before charging is necessary. The lack of color and the relatively slow switching speed drive the research towards new materials and innovative configurations. The LCP group has a long-standing collaboration with Merck in Southampton to investigate particle transport in electrophoretic mixtures.
Involved in this project are Filip Strubbe and Masoumeh Karvar.
The Liquid Crystals and Photonics Group is member of Plateau, Photonics Innovation Center at Ghent University. Plateau clusters laboratories and research groups of Ghent University to unite their expertise in the development of innovative photonic solutions and facilitates technology transfer activities in photonics.
In the past we participated in other projects:
OLED100.eu, an integrated research project, aims at the development of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technologies in Europe. It has received €12.5 million funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme to form the technological basis for efficient OLED applications for the general lighting industry in Europe. The OLED100.eu programme follows the successful OLLA (Organic LEDs for Lighting Applications) programme, which started in 2004 and concluded earlier this year. OLLA created the basis for organic lighting by developing white OLEDs with efficacies of 50.7 lm/W at an initial brightness of 1000 cd/m2 and with lifetimes well above 10.000 hours.
With OLED100.eu, Europe is continuing to invest in the development of organic lighting technologies and moving to specifications required for general lighting applications. The consortium will focus on five main goals:
The Liquid Crystals & Photonics group is mainly involved in simulations and measurements for enhancing the light outcoupling from these OLEDs.
Euronews (available on Belgacom digital TV and TELENET Vlaanderen) has made an 8-minute program about the EU project OLED100 (efficient lighting with organic LEDs). Part of the filming was carried out in the University of Ghent, a partner in the OLED100 project. The report is visible on the EuroNews webpage till August 2009. Afterwards, the video will be posted on YouTube.
The IAP program aims to enhance the collaboration of different research groups. Six Belgian groups and two European partners are involved in IAP 6-10. All these groups carry on research in the fields of photonics. By sharing their knowledge and resources, they target to provide major contributions to this quite exciting branch of science and technology.
FINELUMEN ( Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (ITN) - FP7-PEOPLE-2007-1-1-ITN) is a 4-year training and research project aiming at the preparation and extensive characterization of luminescent materials in which suitably designed organic and inorganic luminophores are encapsulated within confined media where they can preserve and even improve their emission output. The ultimate goal is to create a library of luminescent modules emitting throughout the VIS-NIR region for producing superior functional organic materials. The versatile properties of these materials will make them attractive in at least 3 applicative areas, i.e. bioimaging, optoelectronic devices and sensors. The research effort inside “FINELUMEN” calls for a multidisciplinary team in which key groups, experts in different fields of chemistry, physics and engineering tightly interact. Training and exchange of young researchers represents the core of the “FINELUMEN” activity. To both early-stage and experienced researchers a multidisciplinary training in synthetic/supramolecular/physical chemistry, photosciences, and engineering as well as management, communication, and IPR is offered, preparing them for positions in academia, industry, and government labs.
In this 4 year interdisciplinary project funded by Ghent University, four research groups (chemists, biologists and engineers) bring in their expertise. The project focuses on the detection of biomolecules, based on nanostructured silicon devices, chemically modified surfaces and reorientation of liquid crystal molecules.
The involved research groups are:
The project proposal aims at two applications of liquid crystals in photonics: the use in fast-switching, high-contrast displays and the use in fast photonic switches for telecom applications. The liquid crystals mixtures are developed and characterized at the Institute of Chemistry in Warsaw, headed by prof. Dabrowski. The liquid crystal mixtures are incorporated in photonic devices (displays or switching devices) and the performance of these devices is investigated by the Liquid Crystal and Photonics Group.
This project is about harnessing light. It is about photons and fields in interaction with matter and about the ubiquitous role that photonics is starting to play in information technology and communication. Its research objectives go from the theoretical study and experimental validation of newly discovered physical phenomena to the introduction of new concepts for photonic devices and systems with applications in all-optical telecommunication networks and in optical interconnections. Hence its title 'Photons and photonics', its subtitle 'From basic physics to new system concepts' and its acronym 'The PHOTON Network'.
This programme is aimed at the rational design and synthesis of new synclinic (ferroelectric) and anticlinic (antiferroelectric) liquid crystals to meet the demands of novel photonic device concepts, particularly those based on silicon backplanes (LCOS).
Many new, fast, parallel optical-switches and light-modulating devices were innovated under a previous network (ORCHIS) but for these devices to make any commercial impact, new materials with designer physical properties are required.
This programme is thus based on innovation in material design and synthesis.
More details about the former projects can be found here.