Polar Liquid Crystals with High Dielectric Anisotropy


Vanderbilt inventors have developed a new class of liquid crystals with high dielectric anisotropy. A new class of liquid crystals containing boron in their structure has been developed with high dielectric anisotropy, which results in low threshold voltages.


The optical effect in Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) is caused by reorientation  of molecules of the liquid crystals upon application of an electric field. This electro-optical effect requires materials with dielectric anisotropy delta epsilon, and the larger the delta epsilon, the lower the threshold voltage for the molecular realignment. A new class of liquid crystals containing boron in their structure has been developed. The materials have high dielectric anisotropy (delta epsilon > 40), which results in low threshold voltages. The strategy used in the current invention overcomes  the twin limitations posed by (a) low compatibility of the polar additive with the nematic host and (b) low solubility of polar mesoionic heterocycles and zwitterions additives.

The current stage of development of this technology is proof of concept, and some synthesis routes have been explored. Liquid crystal technology is now commonplace with LCDs being found in calculators, watches, telephones, radios and car dashboards, and larger, full-color displays can be found in laptop computer screens and LCD TV sets. Liquid crystals touch our lives every day, as they are the basis of fl at-panel displays for communication devices and mobile data processing systems. The likely market for this type of technology is the World Flat Panel Display(FPD) market.

Strategic Plan

Vanderbilt University intends to continue research and development of this concept. Concurrently, Vanderbilt solicits licensing and technical interest from industrial concerns for eventual commercialization of this technology. U.S. Patent # 8,168,084 was issued on May 1, 2012 protecting this technology.

Licensing Contact

Philip Swaney

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