Liquid crystal displays are manufactured on flat rigid substrates where the liquid crystals position between pixel electrodes and counter-electrodes. Flat is important, because bending produces unequal distances between electrodes. This difference results in color irregularities. Omron Corp.'s Material Development Department (part of the Electronic Components Business Company) is challenging the production limitation. Using a vacuum impregnation technique, Omron has demonstrated the ability to insert liquid crystals into a polymer film consisting of approximately 0.5-micron diameter spherical polyacrylate particles. Because the polymer network is finer than than conventional self-supported polymer/liquid crystal composite film, it allows a uniform color across a display whether the display is bent or not. Other potential applications for this capability include light-diffusion film, reflection film, and ink jet printing paper. For further details, contact Christopher_udell@omron.co.jp.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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