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Opportunity at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Liquid Crystal/Polymer Materials for Optical Applications


Materials & Manufacturing, RX/Functional Materials Division

RO# Location
13.25.01.B3757 Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 454337817


name email phone
Timothy J. Bunning (937) 255-6825


We study the structure/property relationships of a variety of materials systems, which are broadly applicable to linear and nonlinear optical materials. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the electro-optical and photo-optical properties of liquid crystals for a wide variety of applications, including the development of switchable diffractive optical elements using controlled phase separation of polymer/liquid crystal composites. Responsive optical, electro-optical, and photo-optical structured organic materials and approaches for utility in optical sensing, laser beam control, and filtering (modulation) applications are studied. The central research area focuses on the utilization of complex polymer and liquid crystal-based materials (including studies on the phase separation, diffusion, and polymerization kinetics) for a variety of optical applications. Current research areas include the development of one-, two-, and three-dimensional switchable polymeric diffractive structures using complex holographic photopolymerization techniques, phototunable cholesteric LC’s, photomechanical materials based on photosensitive liquid crystalline networks, novel electro-optic liquid crystal/polymer materials, the development of complex optical stacks using plasma vapor deposited polymeric heterocyclic thin films, and nanostructured optical materials. Core interest areas include switchable diffractive optical components based on polymer-dispersed liquid crystal (PDLC)-based Bragg transmission and reflection gratings, the templating of functional nanoparticles using holographic photopolymerization process, and polymeric photonic thin films including notch filters and AR coatings fabricated using plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition processes. A wide array of high-resolution characterization techniques are available including scanning probe microscopy, low-voltage scanning electron microscopy, cryo-sem, cryo-TEM, FIB, and x-ray scattering (including synchrotron radiation experiments for real-time characterization). A plethora of laser systems and laboratories including UV, He-CD, Ar+, Verdi, Ti-sapphire, and pulsed IR to conduct photopolymerization experiments both in the bulk and in interference geometries are available.


Liquid crystals; Electro-optics; Polymerization processes; Polymeric films; Photopolymerization; Interference lithography; Holographic Photopolymerization; Functionalized polymer films; Nanocomposites; PECVD; Morphological studies;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$76,542.00 $4,000.00

$3,000 Supplement for Doctorates in Engineering & Computer Science

Experience Supplement:
Postdoctoral and Senior Associates will receive an appropriately higher stipend based on the number of years of experience past their PhD.

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