Highly Tunable Magnetic Liquid Crystals

Tech ID: 32619 / UC Case 2014-044-0

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 10,359,678 07/23/2019 2014-044

Full Description


The liquid like behavior and optical anisotropy of liquid crystals have catalyzed many important applications – with a particularly successful example being liquid crystal displays driven by electric fields. Development of magnetically actuated liquid crystals opens the door toward various applications which may benefit from the instantaneous and contactless nature of magnetic manipulation.

Even with significant advances in colloidal synthesis preparation of magnetic anisotropic nanostructures with a uniform size, well-defined shape and good solution dispersity has remained difficult.

Current Invention

Prof. Yadong Yin and his research group have successfully produced a magnetically actuated liquid crystal system based on magnetic iron oxide nanorods and demonstrated its instantaneous and reversible orientational tuning using magnetic fields. The developed liquid crystal alters the polarization of light and is able to control the intensity of the light transmitted through it – depending on the direction of the external magnetic field.

Iron-oxide nIanoroIds

TEM image of Fe3O4@SiO2 nanorods

POM Images

POM images of polarization modulated patterns under cross-polarizer – before and after shifting of transmission axis by 45o.


The advantages of this patented discovery are:

  • Extremely sensitive and instantaneous response to directional change of external magnetic field.
  • The magnetic nanorods can be produced as thin film liquid crystals whose orientation can be fixed in selected areas.
  • Electrode less remote control of the optical properties.
  • Provides a new platform for fabricating novel optical devices.

Suggested uses

  • Displays
  • Waveguides
  • Actuators
  • Optical modulators
  • Anti-counterfeiting features

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Other Information


Nanorods, magnetic fields, Liquid crystals, Polarization, Waveguide, Anti-counterfeit

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