Professor Cleaver Paper Accepted for Publication in Nature Communications Journal
Friday 08 November 2019
Professor Doug Cleaver, a SHU scientist working with collaborators from Philadelphia and Boston in the US, has just had a paper accepted for publication in the high-profile journal "Nature Communications".
The paper is based on the team's discovery of a new approach for controlling and switching liquid crystals - the materials used in most screens and portable devices.
Using a mix of theory and experiment, they identified a range of surface patterning treatments that exploit a property which is intrinsic to all liquid crystals but has been ignored in most previous devices. Doug Cleaver, Professor of Materials Modelling in the University's Materials and Engineering Research Institute said "This collaboration arose out of informal discussions at a conference - none of us could understand an initial set of results so we agreed to pool expertise. When we gained a fundamental understanding of the key effect though, the potential for a new class of devices became apparent".
As well as being published, the work has been patented and further research is planned.
Some of their research, which can be seen below, displays polarised optical microscopy which portrays liquid crystals aligned by one of the team's new surfaces - a regular array of circular posts. Each post is about 20 microns wide and the "V-shaped" pairs of bright fringes show that the liquid crystal is aligned in the same way across the entire domain. This provides the basis for a new class of switching mechanism for screens or data storage devices.
Professor Cleaver would like to thank and acknowledge his collaborators; Professor Shu Yang at UPenn and Professor Tim Atherton at Tufts University for their outstanding work and contributions to the project. Without them, this paper would not be possible.