Free-standing veils of parallel carbon nanotube (CNTs) wires can be easily integrated in devices as transparent and conductive layers and they are particularly interesting for liquid crystals since they can act also as aligning layers. We have realized cells for liquid crystals using aligned carbon nanotube wires in sheets drawn from spinnable forests and obtained light modulation by switching the LC. The 5CB and E7 nematic liquid crystal align planarly and the unidirectional alignment direction is determined by the CNT orientation within the sheets and by applying the voltage directly to the CNTs we obtained the electro-optic switching with the LC. The CNT sheets prove to be efficient multifunctional layers for new LC displays, perfectly compatible with flexible substrates due to their mechanical characteristics as it will be described here.
Polymer stabilised blue phase liquid crystals (PSBPLCs) have been investigated for photonics and display applications for the following reasons: optical isotropy in the dark state, ease of fabrication due to the omission of the alignment layer, and sub-millisecond response length. Major barriers to the commercialisation of PSBPLCs are: hysteresis, residual birefringence, and most significantly, high driving voltage. We have chosen to lower the driving voltage through optimization of the mixture (host LC, chiral dopant and monomer). In this paper, investigation of the contribution of the host liquid crystal to the phase stability and electro-optic characteristics of the PSBP will be discussed. The following cases have been investigated: a) A three component host liquid crystal (E8, PE-5CNF (4-Cyano-3-fluorophenyl 4-pentyl benzoate) and CPP-3FF (4-(trans-4-n-propyl cyclohexyl)-3',4'-difluoro-1,1'-biphenyl), LCC Corporation, Japan). For a ratio of E8:PE-CNF:CPP-3FF of 5:3:2, a large BPI window of <50.4°C and low hysteresis was achieved, but the driving voltage was 79V, and b) A single host liquid crystal, 8OCB with chiral dopant CB15. For a ratio for 8OCB:CB15 of 1:1, this mixture demonstrated a significantly lower driving voltage of 65V, but exhibited a smaller BPI window of <27°C. Decrease in the ratio of 8OCB:CB15 also induced the presence of a BPII phase in the mixture. A single host liquid crystal has the advantage of simplicity of composition, and lowered driving voltage. However, the hysteresis and blue phase temperature range needs to be optimised. This investigation concludes upon the suggestion of liquid crystal characteristics which optimises the blue phase temperature range, low hysteresis, switching times and driving voltage.