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T18 : Liquid Crystals (LC)

and their Applications in Display

Ho Yui Kai (1008613493)


PHYS 4011C Team3 :
Lau Tsz Ki (1008604993)
History
Friedrich Reinitzer (1857-1927) Otto Lehmann (1855-1922)
Discovered the “double melting point” Further studied similar compounds and
property of cholesteryl benzoate named them “Liquid Crystal”

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a9/Friedrich_Reinitzer_01.jpg http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/2f/Otto_Lehmann.PNG
Content

Part A. Physics of LC
1. Characteristics of LC molecules
2. Common LC Mesophases
3. Phase transition of LCs
4. Texture and colours of LC cells

Part B. Technology and applications of LC


1.Electro-optic effects of LC
2. LC orientation
3. 7-segment displays
4.Multiplexed displays
5. Merits and shortcomings of LC displays
6. Other applications
Part A : Physics of LC
1. Characteristics of LC molecules
2. Common LC Mesophases
3. Phase transition of LCs
4. Texture and colours of LC cells
1.1 Molecular structure of LC molecules

1.1.1. Building blocks

 LCs is made up by anisotropic shape molecules.


 The calamitic (rod-like) LCs are used in the most of practical applications.

Fig.(a) rod-like molecules Fig.(b) disk-like molecules Fig.(c) banana-like molecules


http://dept.kent.edu/spie/liquidcrystals/ro http://dept.kent.edu/spie/liquidcrystals/dis http://dept.kent.edu/spie/liquidcrysta
dlikemolecule.jpg klikemolecule.jpg ls/bananalikemolecule.jpg
1.1.2.Basic structure of calamitic (rod-like) LCs :

Liquid Crystal by Iam-Choon Khoo P.2

Mesogen is the fundamental unit of a LC that


induces structural order in the crystals.

 They have aromatic nuclei which are polarizable, planar and rigid.
 They are elongated, or rod-like.
 All the physical and optical properties of LC are governed by the properties
of the constituent groups and how they are synthesized.
 Some properties depend on how they are engineered.
 Polar groups in the molecule enhance the liquid crystallinity.
1.2 Ordering properties of LCs

Ordering VS Disordering

a LC molecule

Fig.(a) Anisotropic liquid Fig.(b) Isotropic liquid


http://trappist.elis.ugent.be/ELISgroups http://trappist.elis.ugent.be/ELISgroups
/lcd/lc/phase_smectic.jpg /lcd/lc/phase_isotropic.jpg

 The ordering properties of LCs make it have both solid and liquid properties.
 Type of order :
(1). Orientational : whether molecules are mostly pointing in the same direction
(2). Positional : whether molecules are arranged in any sort of ordered lattice
(3). Long-range : extending to larger
(4). Short-range : only between molecules close to each other

Fig.(1) Fig.(2) Fig.(3)

 Definition : Director ( ) represents the direction of preferred orientation of molecules.


 and - are fully equivalent for most LCs.
1.3 Order parameter
Definition : microscopic scalar order parameter S :

 Function of S : To describe the physics of LCs.


 For isotropic fluid, S = 0.
 For perfectly aligned sample, S = 1.
 For typical LC sample, S between 0 and 1.
 => S depends on temperature T.

Where : is the LC molecular axis


is the director
is the angle between ,
is the average of whole
1.4 Liquid Crystals in Electric Field

 The LC molecules can be re-orientated by external electric field.

E field

Fig.(a) no electric field Fig.(b) a vertical electric field is applied


http://trappist.elis.ugent.be/ELISgroups/lcd/l http://trappist.elis.ugent.be/ELISgroups/lcd/lc/field_pos2.jpg
c/field_original.jpg
Part A : Physics of LC
 1. Characteristics of LC molecules
2. Common LC Mesophases
3. Phase transition of LCs
4. Texture and colours of LC cells
2.1 Classification of liquid crystal

• Prepared by the action of a solvent on the solid.


Lyotropic
• e.g. soap, detergent

• Form naturally over a specific temperature range.


Thermotropic
• Further classified: Nematic, Smectic and Cholesteric.

 LCs are classified accordingly with the physical parameter controlling


the existence of the liquid crystalline phases.

 Thermotropic LCs are the most widely used and studied LCs.
2.2 Thermotropic Liquid Crytal as Common LC Mesophases

2.2.1 Nematic

 The word nematic means "thread".


 Have long-range directional order .
 but no positional order
 uniaxial ( the director)
 Easily aligned by an external M or E field.
 extremely useful in LCD Fig.(a) nematic in 2D Fig.(b) nematic in 3D
 Best describe it by order parameter S. http://trappist.elis.ugent.be/ELISgroups/lc
d/lc/phase_nematic.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wiki
pedia/commons/8/80/LiquidCrys
tal-MesogenOrder-Nematic.jpg

Recall that: Where : is the LC molecular axis


is the director
is the angle between ,
is the average of whole
 Microscopic approach of S by nematics :
 Consider the LC as Simple rod
 is same direction with
 Define a distribution function ,
 => , = the probability of finding rods in
a small solid angle

 (1) , (2)

 characterize the alignment by a numerical parameter

 But vanishes due to property (2) => no average dipole


 The first multipole non-trivial solution is quadrupole.

distribution function
k is the LC molecular axis
n is the director
is the nematic molecules
2.2.2 Smectic
 Found at lower temperatures than the nematic.
 Have both positional and orientational order.
 Form well-defined layers that can slide over
one another.
 the director may tilt away from the layer normal
 By different types and degrees of positional Fig. (a) smectic in 2D
http://www-g.eng.cam.ac.uk/CMMPE/images/smectics.jpg
and orientational order, there are nine known
smectic phases:
Smectic A, Smectic B, … , Smectic I.

Fig.(c) the smectic A (left) and smectic C (right) Fig.(b) smectic in 3D


From Liquid Crystal by Iam-Choon Khoo P.10 http://barrett-group.mcgill.ca/teaching/liquid_crystal/LC-smectic.jpg
2.2.3 Cholesteric / Chiral
 Resemble nematic LCs in all physical properties except that the molecules
tend to align in a helical mannar.
 Its molecules are chiral.
 Pitch (p): the distance for a complete rotation of the director.
 The length of the pitch is comparable with wavelengths of light.

p/2

Fig.(a) cholesteric in 3D Fig.(b) nematic layers in cholesteric


From Liquid Crystal by Iam-Choon Khoo P.9
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bf/Liq
uidCrystal-MesogenOrder-ChiralPhases.jpg
Part A : Physics of LC
 1. Characteristics of LC molecules
 2. Common LC Mesophases
3. Phase transition of LCs
4. Texture and colours of LC cells
3. Phase transition of LCs

http://www.chem.queensu.ca/people/faculty/lemieu
anisotropic liquid x/images/web-Fig.%201.jpg

 As temperature increases, solid crystal change phase to the mesophases


of LCs, and eventually becomes isotropic liquid.
 Around , there are some interesting critical behaviors:
The molecules become more susceptible to external field, and the responses
tend to slow down.
 Caused by the Short-ranger order of the isotropic phase.
 The isotropic phase is a very important phase to study and apply.
Part A : Physics of LC
 1. Characteristics of LC molecules
 2. Common LC Mesophases
 3. Phase transition of LCs
4. Texture and colours of LC cells
4.1 Texture of LCs cell

 In a glass vessel ,a liquid crystal appears as an opaque milky fluid.


∵ random variation of the director => light scattering
 In order to observe the texture of LCs, special preparation are required.
(1) Using flat thin cell
(2) The cell wall is anchored (homeotropic, planar).

anchored cell wall,


usually glass

Flat thin LCs cell with


surface anchoring LCs

Fig(a). Planar alignment Fig.(b) Homeotropic alignment


http://trappist.elis.ugent.be/ELISgr http://trappist.elis.ugent.be/ELISgroup
oups/lcd/lc/align_planar.jpg s/lcd/lc/align_homeotropic.jpg
4.1.1 Textures of Nematic LCs
 In the case of heterogeneous planar orientation of nematics.
 The director n is parallel to cell wall but points in different directions.
 between crossed polarizers in a microscope.
 A schlieren texture appear.

Director singularities: where two or


four brushes meet

Dark brushes:
Correspond to the
extinction orientation
of the nematic LC.
http://wpcontent.answcdn.com/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ec/Nematische_Phase_Schlier
entextur.jpg/300px-Nematische_Phase_Schlierentextur.jpg
4.1.2 Textures of Smectic and Cholesteric LCs
 LCs have a wide variety of macroscopic textures.
 Depends on the technique of preparation and the method of observation.
 Smectic A :

Fig.(a) Textures of focal conic


domains in smectic A
http://dept.kent.edu/spie/liquidcrystals/fcd1sm.jpg

 Cholesteric:

Fig.(b) Fingerprint texture in


cholesteric liquid crystals
http://dept.kent.edu/spie/liquidcrystals/fingers3.jpg
4.2. colour of LCs
 Colors observed in a liquid crystal texture may caused by three mechanisms.

(1). By polaizers:

LP  Birefringence  EP  Interference

 Where:
LP = linear polarization
EP = elliptical polarization
= director
Fig.a)LCs place between crossed polarizers.
From Liquid Crystals by H.Brown& P.Crooker P.27

 Colors may be changed by manipulating the polarizers fixed and realigning the liquid
crystal, either mechanically or with an external field.
(2). By dyes: Direction of propagation of
polarized light.

= LCs

= dye molecules Direction of Electric field

 Dye molecules absorbs the polarized light, so light cannot penetrate. (L.H.S)
 If an electric field rotates the LCs ( and hence the dye molecules), no absorption,
the polarized light can pass. (R.H.S)
(3). By chirality
 Recall the cholesteric LCs and the pitch.
 Light incident as two independent wave : RCP and LCP.
 LCs with right-handed chirality reflect RCP but not LCP.
 the reflectivity of RCP depends on the ratio of the
wavelength and the pitch length.
 If wavelength equal to the pitch length, total
reflection occurs.
 This total reflection region is narrow.
 So, the reflected color is very pure.
Fig.(b) one pitch of cholesteric LCs
From Liquid Crystals by H.Brown& P.Crooker P.32

Where: RCP = right circle polarization


LCP = left circle polarization
= director

Fig.(a) light propagation difference between the LCs and metal/glass


From Liquid Crystals by H.Brown& P.Crooker P.36
Fig.(c) a beetle
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wiki
pedia/commons/7/7f/Striped.lov
e.beetle.arp.jpg
Part A : Physics of LC
 1. Characteristics of LC molecules
 2. Common LC Mesophases
 3. Phase transition of LCs
 4. Texture and colours of LC cells
Part B. Technology and applications of LC
1. Electro-optic effects of LC
2. LC orientation
3. 7-segment displays
4.Multiplexed displays
5. Merits and shortcomings of LC displays
6. Other applications
Electro-optic Effects
E field

Fig.(c) result in electric field


http://trappist.elis.ugent.be/ELISgroup
E field s/lcd/lc/field_pos1.jpg

Fig.(a) no electric field Fig.(b) Situation in electric field


http://trappist.elis.ugent.be/ELISgroups/lcd/l
strong E field
c/field_original.jpg http://trappist.elis.ugent.be/ELISgroups/lcd/l
c/field_torque.jpg

Fig.(b) strong electric field is applied


http://trappist.elis.ugent.be/ELISgroups/lcd/lc/field_pos2.jpg
Electro-optic Effects
Electric field effects
using electric fields
low power consumption

Electro-hydrodynamic effects
using electric fields AND current
high voltage needed
Part B. Technology and applications of LC
 1. Electro-optic effects of LC
2. LC orientation
3. 7-segment displays
4.Multiplexed displays
5. Merits and shortcomings of LC displays
6. Other applications
Different Typical Orientations
Twisted-nematic Orientation
Light Valve (Projectors)
Guest-host Orientation

Working Principle:
Liquid crystal acts as a “movable polarizer”.
Allowing or stopping light rays going through.
Twisted-nematic (TN) Oientation
Bright Dark

Polarizer

Electrode

OFF Mode ON Mode


Light twisted 90 degrees Light not twisted

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/89/TN-LCD-schematic-MS-208kB.png
Twisted-nematic (TN) Oientation

Television with Colour

http://www.360doc.com/content/08/0717/12/494_1439527.shtml
Twisted-nematic (TN) Oientation

http://reference.findtarget.com/search/Liquid%20crystal%20display/ Looking close to a television


Light Valve
Basic construct of a light valve  Using the TN principle

1. Light from the CRT image


hit a photoconductor
Screen Beam LC light Valve 2. Various voltages are
splitter generated
CRT 3. Polarized light rays from
lamp are rotated
differently at different
spots according to the
voltages
4. Light reflected goes
through the polarizer and
Projection Lamp hit the screen

Xenon Lamp
Liquid crystals-Big, bright, even colorful displays by Gordon Graff P.57
Light Valve (Projectors)
Working Priciple of Light Valve Mirror Photoconductor

Polarized Light
from Xenon
Lamp

Light from CRT

To Lens
LC layer

No Light Through here!!


Guest-host Orientation

http://www.personal.kent.edu/~mgu/LCD/gh.htm

 Dye molecules aligning with LC molecules


 LC molecules change orientations with applied
electric fields
Part B. Technology and applications of LC
 1. Electro-optic effects of LC
 2. LC orientation
3. 7-segment displays
4.Multiplexed displays
5. Merits and shortcomings of LC displays
6. Other applications
7-segment Display

When the calculator is off,


the light through the elements are polarized.
http://www.answers.com/topic/liquid-crystal-display

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dc/LCD_layers.svg
7-segment Display
 Consists of seven
individual elements
 Different combinations
will give various
characters or numbers

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/02/7_segment_display_labeled.svg
Part B. Technology and applications of LC
1. Electro-optic effects of LC
2. LC orientation
3. 7-segment displays
4.Multiplexed displays
5. Merits and shortcomings of LC displays
6. Other applications
Multiplexed Display

Liquid Crystal
X Electrodes

Y Electrodes

Basic construct of a multiplexed displa


S E Shields and W P Bleha Light value and projection Mode LCDs P.417
Multiplexed Display
 Consists of two substrates
with transparent
conductive stripes
 Overlapping areas of the
stripes form individual
pixels
 LC oriented in a twisted-
nematic configuration
 rms average difference at
the pixels affect individual
display
Part B. Technology and applications of LC
 1. Electro-optic effects of LC
 2. LC orientation
 3. 7-segment displays
 4.Multiplexed displays
5. Merits and shortcomings of LC displays
6. Other applications
Is Liquid Crystal Display good?
Good Bad
 Compactness  Not easy to see the
 Low Energy image from the two
Consumption sides
 Non-biodegradable
Part B. Technology and applications of LC
 1. Electro-optic effects of LC
 2. LC orientation
 3. 7-segment displays
 4.Multiplexed displays
 5. Merits and shortcomings of LC displays
6. Other applications
Other Applications
 Thermometers
Thermotropic chiral LCs change colors in different
temperature ranges

Thermometer in aquarium For children


http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=9770 http://www.connecticutvalleybiological.com/strip-thermometer-p-15246.html
Other Applications
Industrial Uses

Some liquid crystal changes color when


stretched or stressed.

Used to look for hot spots, map heat flow,


measure stress distribution patterns
Part B. Technology and applications of LC
 1. Electro-optic effects of LC
 2. LC orientation
 3. 7-segment displays
 4.Multiplexed displays
 5. Merits and shortcomings of LC displays
 6. Other applications

The End
Reference
• Liquid Crystal by Iam-Choon Khoo
• The Physics of Liquid Crystals by P G de Gennes and J Prost
• Liquid Crystals by H.Brown& P.Crooker
• Light value and projection Mode LCDs by S E Shields and W P Bleha
• Liquid crystals-Big, bright, even colorful displays by Gordon Graff
• Liquid Crystals & Photonics Group:
http://trappist.elis.ugent.be/ELISgroups/lcd/lc/lc2.php
• Wikipedia-liquid crystal : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_crystal
• Wikipedia-LCD: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LCD