Other interesting applications?

Of course not only display applications are possible with liquid crystals. Researchers investigate more exotic and new applications of liquid crystals. Use of the non-linear properties of liquid crystal mediums (the material parameters are not only direction depended, but also depend on the intensity of the entering light and the wavelength) one tries to find new applications. E.g.:

  • Solitary wave propagation in liquid crystals

    A high intensity laser beam injected in a liquid crystal can produce a local reorientation of the director molecules. In this way the light produces it's own waveguide and the laser light will not diffract but stays confined in a narrow beam. The soliton application can lead to an addressable liquid crystal waveguide to switch light between several optical fibers.

    Principle of solitary wave propagation in liquid crystals

  • Hollow liquid crystal fibers

    Hollow optical fibers have already proved their use. If we fill them with liquid crystals gives they can give interesting controllable behavior to the optical fibers.

  • Optically addressed liquid crystal displays

    In optically addressed liquid crystal displays, the strong electric field of a non-visible wavelength with high intensity is used to switch the molecules in stead of an externally applied voltage.

  • Liquid crystal solar cell

    A new and promising application using liquid crystals is the liquid crystal semiconductor. Liquid crystals are organic molecules similar to polymers. In polymers containing conjugated systems (alternating single and double bond) the creation of a higher and lower pi-bond leads to the creation of a band gap simular to semiconductors. The use of such a liquid crystal in a device simular to the Grätzel cell can lead to new types of solar cells.


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Liquid crystal tutorial written by Chris Desimpel, based on the introduction of his Ph.D. thesis and literature.