Bistable Liquid Crystal Lenses


Contact Professor Cliff Jones to discuss this project further informally.

Project description

The world of virtual and augmented reality combine microdisplays with microoptical elements to steer light into the eye. Augmented reality in particular has some severe difficulties, since it uses near-eye images mounted into spectacle frames. Ensuring that the optical elements remain very low power and are unobtrusive is essential.

Adaptive Liquid crystal lenses are promising not only for this application, but also for a wide variety of systems from endoscopes to smart phone cameraas. Such lens systems require constant powering. For most applications this is suitably low for LC already, but some novel appllcations require bistable lenses. Such lenses can retain their focus after all power is removed, until a new focal state is desired and the lens is then reactivated and latched into that new state.

Achieving high degrees of phase modulation (ie lensing) and bistabiltiy requires a novel approach to be taken.This work will use nano-scale structure in the lenses to provide bistable pretilts stabilised using disclinations in the liquid crstyal structure. The magnitude of the bistable pretilt will depend on the local shape of the surfaces. Advanced methods for producing these structures, including focused ion-beam milling, e-beam and nanolithographic methods will be explored. There is a strong intention for this work to provide working devices, and candidates with an interest in taking ideas to the market place are encouraged.

This project has a potential for becoming a CASE award with the world leading company Merck.

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with, or expecting, a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1) in a relevant discipline, a Master's degree in a relevant discipline, or both.

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is 'Bistable Liquid Crystal Lenses for augmented reality and low power reconfigurable optic appliactions' as well as Professor Cliff Jones as your proposed supervisor.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates.  All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.