Since the early 1970s, three major prerequisites have brought the success of the liquid crystal display (LCD) technology to its key role of today. Namely, the discovery of electro-optical field-effects on which the displays are based, the successful search for liquid crystals (LCs) with material properties that meet the complex requirements of electro-optical effects and render the effects applicable in displays, and last but not least, the development of the technological tools required for manufacturing displays.

Virtually all of today's commercial LCDs are based on the twisted nematic (TN) or on various supertwisted nematic (STN) effects whose extensive development and improvement over the past 25 years is still rapidly progressing. Those liquid crystal material properties and electro-optical effects that essentially determine the performance of nematic displays are reviewed. Correlations between molecular functional structural groups, LC material properties, and their electro-optical relevance for TN and STN displays are outlined. Included are dual-frequency addressing phenomena in liquid crystal materials, in situ dielectric heating of displays, and conductivity phenomena that are related and that may either hamper or improve the performance of high-information content LCDs. Moreover, we review some recent developments made in our laboratories on novel electro-optical devices and device-specific functional organic materials, e.g. optical alignment of monomeric and polymeric liquid crystals by linearly polarized light; the generation of photo-patterned multidomain twisted nematic displays with broad field of view; the operation of displays with circularly polarized light, as well as compact and bright cholesteric LCD projection optics whose polarizers, filters, and modulators are all based on liquid crystal elements.

Keyword(s): FLCLCDLPPsupertwisted nematic

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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