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How far has the molecular alignment of liquid crystals been elucidated?

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1 Author(s)
Ishihara, S. ; Sharp Corp., Nara, Japan

Liquid crystal displays (LCDs) - born in late 1960s - have become a 45 billion-dollar industry in 2004. Today's LCD panels cover a wide range of sizes from 0.2 to 82 in diagonal. The electro-optical characteristics of any field effect LCD are determined by the orientation of its liquid crystal (LC) molecules at the display boundaries. Until recently most LCD alignment processes were based on rubbing polymer coated LCD substrates with a cloth. Despite its key importance, the complex mechanism governing the alignment of LC molecules on display substrates is still not well understood. Do the microgrooves generated by rubbing induce LC-alignment or does the stretching of polymer chains as a result of brushing cause it? To overcome the drawbacks of conventional aligning techniques, new alignment processes have recently been proposed and developed. Examples are micro embossing, ion bombardment, fringe field effects and photo-alignment. In this paper, some mechanisms of LC alignment are discussed and various alignment techniques and methods to investigate the interaction of LC molecules with substrates are reviewed.

Published in:

Display Technology, Journal of  (Volume:1 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

Sept. 2005

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