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Tristable Nematic Liquid Crystals Formed

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Liquid crystal devices with molecules that adopt multiple stable orientations could someday help reduce power consumption of high-information-content displays. In line with this, researchers at Japan Science and Technology Corp. and the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, both in Tsukuba, have engineered tristability into nematic liquid crystal devices.

Using the stylus of an atomic force microscope to inscribe a microscopic pattern exhibiting hexagonal symmetry on a polyimide surface, they produced three stable macroscopic liquid crystal orientations that are switchable using an in-plane electric field. The scientists believe that the patterning method, which they described in the Nov. 14 issue of Nature, and the resulting surface-driven switching mode should be compatible with flexible display applications.

Photonics Spectra
Jan 2003
Basic ScienceConsumerhigh-information-contentindustrialliquid crystal devicesMicroscopynematic liquid crystal devicesResearch & TechnologyTech Pulse

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