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Research News

Partnership for Innovation (PFI)

Posted Sep. 6, 2011

The LCI starts a new partnership on "Liquid Crystal - Polymer Interfaces" in September

PFI_platformThe National Science Foundation has announced its support for a new Partnership for Innovation (PFI) in Northeast Ohio, focused on liquid crystal - polymer interfaces, starting on Sept. 15th, 2011.  The goal of the PFI program is to stimulate the transformation of knowledge created by research and education into innovations that create new wealth, build strong economies and improve the national well-being.  The core partners in the new PFI are Kent State University, AlphaMicron Inc. and Kent Displays Inc.  Five other partners are the University of Akron, the University of Central Oklahoma, Bridgestone America, Nortech/Flex Matters, and Polymer Ohio, Inc.  

The new PFI will establish a broad platform on liquid crystal (LC)-polymer interfaces connecting the device and manufacturing issues in industry to the frontiers of academic research.   LC-polymer interfaces have been of vital importance in liquid crystal display (LCD) industry, and the recent advent of flexible LCDs using plastic substrates requires new dimension of insights into interface behavior and design. The project aims to identify the technical issues in real products of the partner companies, and offer solutions based on the state-of-the-art characterization, computational materials science and novel materials development.  A novel aspect of the project is commitment to an expedited and efficient two-way transfer of knowledge across the disciplinary and organizational barriers.The proposed platform will not only solve key problems in currently emerging technologies, but also enable new LC-on-plastic (LCOP) technologies and thereby provide new opportunities to US industry with the possibility of strong economic development based on LCOP products. 

The impact of new knowledge generated on the behavior and control of the interface between liquid crystals and polymers should go beyond the advancement of flexible displays, enabling breakthroughs to flexible bioseonsors and wearable health care devices. The platform will serve as a long-term basis for enhanced synergy in academia-industry partnership in Northeast Ohio.   

PFI_organization2The Kent State team consists of Peter Palffy-Muhoray(PI), Provost Robert Frank and Hiroshi Yokoyama, while Bahaman Taheri at AlphaMicron and Asad Khan at Kent Displays lead the industrial part of the collaboration.