For several types of applications, there is a need to switch the transmission of light through a large area device (ranging from a centimeter, up to several meter). The example of smart windows (as shown in the figure below) is a very demanding application because of the very large size (up to several meters) and lifetime issues due to the UV in the sunlight. Other applications such as fast filters in imaging devices (cameras) are smaller in size, but often require very fast switching times. In any of these applications it would be a big advantage to have bistable operation of the shutter. Bistability means that both states (bright and dark) are stable, which means that only a voltage signal is required when switching from one state to the other. There is no power required when the device remains in the same state. This means that almost no electrical power is necessary to operate the device.
In this thesis, the aim is to develop a device which is able to switch very fast (around 1 ms) between two states (with high and low transmission, or with high and low scattering) and which is applicable for large area devices such as smart windows. It would be a great benifit when the device could work in a bistable way. The work will involve clean room work and optical measurement using a microscope and computer contralled data acquisition devices. Depending on the interest of the thesis student, the work can involve simulations of the liquid crystal switching and the optical transmission.