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September 22 2012

Liquid crystal lasers could be mass-printed to create 'smart' materials


A team of physicists has published a study detailing how it has devised a cheap way to print lasers on to nearly any surface using an ordinary inkjet printer -- a find that could revolutionise the future production and use of lasers.

The paper, published in the journal Soft Matter, explains how a team of University of Cambridge physicists and engineers printed hundreds of small dots of chiral nematic liquid crystal molecules (LC) -- which are already used to create organic lasers -- on to a material coated with a wet polymer solution. When that solution dries, it reacts with the liquid crystals, causing them to align and be transformed into individual multi-colour lasers, without the addition of mirrors.

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