Liquid Crystal Technology for Light

In moving forward from liquid crystal (LC) display devices, there is increasing focus on using
LC technology for applications including manipulating, steering light or even creating light.
Many (though not all) of the devices used for steering light are based on nematic liquid
crystals, and there is particular current emphasis on solving problems including removing
polarization dependence of devices, broad wavelength responses, efficiencies etc.
It is also increasingly common to use the order in LCs on a micron scale for microphotonics
and sensors. In the former case, the relatively easy manipulation of toplogical defects and
self-organisation of colloidal particles could be employed to build micro-optical devices
‘bottom up’. In the case of sensors, some of the most novel approaches use micron-sized
droplets of chiral nematic LCs as a lasing medium, allowing printable lasers which can in
principle be switched on and off by modifying the surface orientation. There are also
emerging examples of producing liquid crystal shells that have unexpected photonic
properties when organised in ‘crystalline’ lattices.

The technologies are relevant to sustainability, the ageing population and healthcare.

This meeting will bring together some of the most exciting developments in this area to
allow discussion around further cross-fertilization and new approaches.


Dr. Mamatha Nagaraj (University of Leeds)

Dr. Philip Hands (University of Edinburgh)

Professor Helen Gleeson (University of Leeds, Rank Prize Optoelectronics Committee)