Professor Cliff Jones

Professor Cliff Jones


Nothing is more rewarding than having a novel idea, researching and discovering everything there is to know about it, and then applying that idea to something that is of use. I've been fortunate to do that a few times in my career, working with large corporations such as QinetiQ and Sharp, and also in a successful spinout company I founded, called ZBD Displays (now Displaydata). I've joined academia from industry to begin the process again, and explore some basic physics with the aim of creating new commercial innovations.

Recently, I have co-founded my second company, called Dynamic Vision Systems. This combines liquid crystals with printed electronics to produce switchable contact lenses; important for curing presbyopia, the age related deterioration of the eye that everyone suffers over the age of 50. 


  • Physics Impact Champion

Research interests


My main research interests are in the field of liquid crystals, the rich and diverse set of phases that can occur for anisotropic molecules or particles between the disordered fluid and fully ordered crystal solids. In particular, I am interested in the effects of confinement and polarity in liquid crystals. For example, the zenithal bistable device (ZBD) uses deep-nanoscale surface features to induce defects and flexo-electric polarisation in nematic liquid crystals to produce low voltage bistable liquid crystal displays and spatial light modulators. I am currently studying the effect of such photonic surfaces with other liquid crystal phases and colloidal systems, including Janus particles and other nano-particle suspensions, as part of an EPSRC Advanced Fellowship of Manufacturing.

My experience of taking invention from idea through to a successful product is currently being used in our group's work on switchable contact lenses. This project requires novel manufacturing methods, modulator design and integrated electronics to allow the lenses to switch whilst powered either wirelessly or with a tiny on-board charge source.

Areas abundant in new physics include novel phase structures in self-assembling materials, nano-replication methods and the interaction of soft matter with controllable surfaces, electro-wetting and electrophoretic phenomena, flexo- and ferro-electric switching effects. The array of novel fabrication and characterisation tools available to our group allows us to bridge the gap between fundamental science and innovative devices.

Qualifications and awards 

2017       Katherine Burr-Blodgett, Gold Medal and Award; IOP
2015       George Gray Medal; BLCS
2012       Innovation Award; On behalf of ZBD Displays Ltd. IOP
2007       Cyril Hilsum Medal; BLCS
2005       Entrepreneur of the Year, UK Central Science and Technology; Ernst and Young
2000       Charles Vernon Boys Medal and Prize; IOP
1994       Young Scientist Award; BLCS
1992       Ben Sturgeon Award; Society for Information Display


Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Fellow of the Institute of Physics
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce
  • Senior Member of the Society of Information Display
  • Honorary QinetiQ Fellow
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