Self-Aligning Liquid Crystal Technology

Our liquid crystal nanochemistry makes light more useful and efficient. Lyotropic liquid crystals are a foundational chemistry platform with unique properties that improve products and lower costs for the LED lighting, building materials and biotechnology industries – as well as for LCD/OLED Displays.

Light Polymers’ proprietary lyotropic materials (lyotropic liquid crystals) have amphiphilic properties, with both hydrophobic and hydrophilic parts in the molecule. These amphiphilic materials can be used as efficient viscosity modifiers and create suspensions without surfactants. That means Light Polymers’ proprietary materials can be used as a suspension matrix for objects of various sizes and shapes from objects on the nanoscale to macroscopic objects like phosphors and concrete particles. This Nanosuspension Technology is an innovative field that has an important role to play in many applications, including construction, displays, lighting, and pharmaceuticals.

Our nanosuspension materials are stable, and the spectra emitted will not degrade over time. These properties have enabled the creation of Light Polymers’ Crystallin® brand of lighting products. The lyotropic materials used in our products allows for higher downconversion efficiency and precise control of the production process. Thick coated layers dry to a thin film of compacted materials and increase the density of the suspended particles considerably without agglomeration.

Thermotropic and Lyotropic Liquid Crystals

Thermotropic LCs are either individual materials or mixtures of mesogens – liquid crystal phase occur in a certain temperature range. In the lyotropic phases, solvent (Water) molecules fill the space around the compounds. Concentration and temperature are both important parameters to control LC properties.

Crystals That Flow

A liquid crystal is a substance that flows like a liquid but has some degree of ordering in the arrangement of its molecules. There are three major types of liquid crystals: Thermotropic, Lyotropic, Metallotropic. Light Polymers is the expert in Lyotropic Liquid Crystals (LLCs). LLCs are naturally transparent and colorless with a high index of refraction and a high heat resistivity-up to 300C.

The ordering of liquid crystal phases is extensive on the molecular scale. This order extends up to the domain size (micrometers), which usually does not extend to the macroscopic scale as in classical crystalline solids. However, an external force that makes liquid crystal flow can be used to align multiple micro-domains into a single ordered macro-domain in a macroscopic liquid crystal sample.

Why Lyotropic?

  1. Molecular design of Thermotropics is dictated by requirement for the molecule to be in liquid crystal state at working temperature. For Lyotropics the liquid crystallinity depends not only on temperature but also on solubility, which depends on lyophilic functionality and type of solvent.
  2. Lyotropics have another degree of freedom of concentration – a way to control thickness (thinner coating) and physical properties.
  3. Drying of lyotropic liquid crystal is a convenient way to make oriented structures permanent.
  4. Lyophilic and lyophobic effects allow self-assembly of small molecules into aggregates with anisotropy not achievable with rod-like molecules.

Transparent, High Refractive Index, Polarizing Chemistry for the Display Industry

Light Polymers’ liquid crystal nanochemistry is used to create transparent, high refractive index OLED polarizer materials. These materials enable next-generation display technologies with higher light efficiency at a lower cost. Applications include flexible and foldable OLED displays, curved LCD, and privacy displays.

Circular polarizers used today are made of two films: a standard linear polarizer and a “1⁄4 wave plate” compensation film with reverse dispersion of retardation properties. Light Polymers’ patented films are more durable during fold tests due to proprietary water-based chemistry and the elimination of fragile plastic substrates. Polarizers developed by Light Polymers also eliminate costly extra film components while simplifies the overall manufacturing process. Transparent, high refractive index OLED polarizer materials enable next-generation display technologies with higher light efficiency at a lower cost. Other applications for this technology include flexible and foldable OLED displays, curved LCD, and privacy displays. 

Light Polymers Application Method:
Industry-Standard Slot Die

Current Polarizer Application Method

Light Polymers’ lyotropic liquid crystal chemistry enables both the thinnest and lowest cost circular polarization solution for the OLED display market. Wide viewing angles and an easy coating process means driving down display costs while offering a product that passes the 100,000 bend test for foldable materials. Light Polymers’ proprietary nanochemistry creates a circular polarizer at 45 µm, thinner than any competitive offering. A circular polarizer is an essential part of an OLED display as the component which reduces the reflections of light off of the mirror-like surface of an OLED panel. Without the circular polarizer, an OLED panel would act just like a mirror, reflecting all of the light back and rendering the OLED display unreadable.

Borderless displays with an edge-to-edge screen, one of the major advances in Apple’s iPhone X and Xs, use what is called a “Flexible OLED Display,” as it can wrap around the edge of the smartphone, and it is widely used in Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone offering as well. Flexible display components were just the first step on the path to fully foldable displays. Light Polymers is now perfecting the foldable version of this circular polarizer that is thinner than any current competitive offerings. This technology pushes the industry one step closer to making foldable displays.

A trend in the display industry is the use of Quantum Dots suspended in silicone to widen the display’s color gamut, creating vibrant reds and greens. Light Polymers’ proprietary lyotropic materials have a tunable refractive index, which can improve the light extraction efficiency in such Quantum Dot applications through index-matching. Since Light Polymers’ suspension materials are water-based, they can be easily coated on flat or curved surfaces.

Using patented, water-based lyotropic liquid crystals, Light Polymers is now producing a Crystallin phosphor down-conversion film for use with blue Micro and Mini LEDs. The Crystallin Performance PDC 100 phosphor down-conversion film is laminated to a substrate of blue Micro or Mini LEDs and provides a color gamut that can reach 85%. Crystallin Premium PDC 500 can also be laminated to a substrate of blue Micro and Mini LEDs, providing a color gamut as high as 95%, similar to the performance of a non-cadmium quantum dot film without the thickness and cost issues using highly reliable industry standard phosphors. Both the PDC 100 and PDC 500 films have a built-in diffuser capability, eliminating the need for additional diffusers.

Exceptional Color Quality and Eye Safety for LED Lighting

Light Polymers’ lyotropic liquid crystals have high-temperature stability. The unique molecular alignment mechanism requires no complex equipment allowing lower production costs in many applications. This same chemistry can be applied in LED technology to create thin phosphor-photonic films while delivering 20% more blue to white light conversion efficiency using 20% less phosphor. 

Our technology provides comfortable, low glare lighting with affordable, high CRI color rendering temperatures. This film also follows the trend of down-conversion of blue light in the next generation of LED Lighting. These lighting products are safer than competitors, exhibiting no blue-light leakage. This improvement in performance (along with a more stable color shift, lumen maintenance, increased reliability, and lower costs) can accelerate the 2nd revolution in LED Lighting.

Our patented Crystallin® photonic film increases efficiency and creates light that is smooth, pleasant, and uniform. Both our Gold97 Task Light and Orange Study Light are IEC International Certified through the IEC 62471 test, producing only eye-safe light with no harmful blue or UV emissions. We design our products with your eyes in mind, creating lights that allow for long hours of work with no eye fatigue from harsh lighting. We strive to meet a higher standard for energy conservation and enhance the quality of your everyday lighting through our technology.

Water Based and Environmentally Friendly

Water-based coatable materials help keep our planet green by reducing the use of toxic organic solvents. Traditional OLED polarizer manufacturing involves dangerous solvents such as chloroform and chlorobenzene. Light Polymers’ polarizer technology is water-based, lowers manufacturing costs, is safer to produce and more environmentally friendly.

Lyotropic materials are common in nature, make up our muscles and many other biological systems. They have self-aligning properties, using only water as the key medium, and can help lower production costs by simplifying the coating and manufacturing processes. Light Polymers’ films are stable and the spectra emitted will not degrade over time.

In addition to lowering manufacturing costs by speeding up the process, Light Polymers’ proprietary chemistry eliminates the use of any surfactants or toxic chemicals. The unique formulations in Crystallin® films control the refractive index, enabling higher down-conversion efficiency and less waste heat. The manufacturing process is easy to scale, leading to substantial economic efficiencies in manufacturing Crystallin® lights compared to traditional LED fixtures.