Studies by researchers at the University of Luxembourg have shown the potential of the liquid crystal scale as a material for a wide range of future applications: protecting autonomous driving technology from counterfeiting and a new class of sensors.
Liquid crystals, commonly used in flat screen TVs, are solid and liquid materials. Professor Jan Lagerwall and his team at the Department of Physics and Materials Research (PHYMS) at the University of Luxembourg have studied the mechanical and optical properties of microscopic shells in liquid crystals for many years. In an interdisciplinary collaboration with IT specialists, Dr. Gabriele Lenzini and Professor Peter Ryan, of safety and trust Interdisciplinary center of University, and Matthew Schwartz, associate professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, published a report in the scientific journal Advanced Materials potentially innovative, future applications for the material.
Shells can be created with only specific wavelengths of light, such as infrared, that will be invisible to the human eye. Since the liquid crystal light reflects in one direction, which means that viewers have the same pattern, regardless of their position and angle of view, the model can even read moving objects. In addition, the shells can be fabricated to alter its construction when exposed to some external shock, such as pressure, specific chemicals, or heat.
Together with computers to interpret these shells can be deployed as sensors for example pressure sensors at the fingertips of the robots to provide tactile feedback, which is currently difficult to achieve in robotics. Another application can be the exit fire indication that will only be active when the temperature exceeds a certain temperature limit. The great advantage of these sensors is that they respond passively to external impacts and do not require electricity and batteries.
Smart materials have also created a huge chaos in retail sector as innovators are more inclined over the development of smart fabrics that can shape the new definition of fashion and clothing with diverse application possibilities.