Reactive Mesogens: One Principle, Infinite Possibilities (Prof. Broer - Eindhoven University of Technology)


Reactive Mesogens: One Principle, Infinite Possibilities

Prof. Dirk J. Broer
Eindhoven University of Technology

Institute for Complex Molecular Systems


Since their development in de late 80’s of last century, reactive mesogens (RM’s) have find their way to a wealth of applications. The frozen-in molecular order of the polymer networks that they form upon polymerization brought a new dimension into liquid crystal technologies. Initially developed for their use as low shrinkage, low thermal stress coatings, the RM’s demonstrated their function especially in optical applications. The large, temperature-stable and adjustable birefringence was adopted by the display industry for many purposes, varying from viewing angle enhancement to optical-retarder based 3D imaging optics. Presently, advanced optical applications for augmented reality and astronomy lenses are drawing much attention as well their use to stabilize special liquid crystal effects for smart windows and dedicated display types.
The use of RM’s for soft robotics applications is nowadays studied by many academic and industrial institutes. Triggered by heat, light or humidity the polymers change shape, surface structure or porosity. At Eindhoven University, we developed self-sustaining oscillators, cilia based micro-transport devices and haptic surfaces. Films deform from a flat to a complex, but pre-designed, shape with prospects to light-triggered origami and self-folding plastic elements. A completely new development relates to coatings that switch their surfaces from flat to corrugated with a preset topography, thus controlling properties as friction and grip.
The lecture will discuss our newest developments in responsive liquid crystal polymer materials, giving a preliminary view on the future of RM’s with advanced applications in the fields of oscillatory films, smart coatings, soft robotics and haptics.

Example of a thin micrometer thick coating that switches its surface from flat to corrugated with a fingerprint texture

Speaker Background:

Dirk J. Broer is polymer chemist and specialized in polymer structuring and self-organizing polymer networks. In 1973, he joined Philips Research (Eindhoven, Netherlands) where he worked on a manifold of research topics such as vapor phase polymerization, optical data storage, telecommunication and display optics. In 1990/1991, he worked at DuPont Experimental Station (Delaware, USA) on nonlinear optics and vapor phase deposition of pi-conjugated polymers. He started his work on liquid crystal materials in 1985. He developed the process of in-situ photopolymerization of liquid crystal monomers to form densely crosslinked and monolithically ordered liquid crystal networks which led in 1990 to his PhD degree at Groningen University with Prof. Challa as his promotor. Back in 1991 at Philips Research he developed optical films for LCD enhancement and in 2000 he started his work on new manufacturing technologies of LCDs for large area displays and electronic wallpaper. From 2003 to 2010 he was senior research fellow and vice president at the Philips Research Laboratories specializing on biomedical devices and applications of polymeric materials.
In 1996, he was appointed as part-time professor at the Eindhoven University covering research topics as liquid crystals, polymer waveguides, solar energy, organic semiconductors, nanolithography, soft lithography and polymer actuators for biomedical microfluidic systems. In 2010, he was appointed as fulltime professor in Eindhoven to chair the Department Functional Organic Materials and Devices with a research emphasis on clean technologies as energy harvesting, water treatment and healthcare. In 2015 he became staff member of the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems in Eindhoven and coordinates presently a program on responsive soft materials.
Prof. Broer is member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). In total, he has around 260 publications in peer reviewed journals and more than 120 US patents.


Monday, January 29, 2018


Michael’s at Shoreline
2960 N Shoreline Blvd
Mountain View, CA



6 PM social hour
7 PM dinner
8 PM lecture


Employed/postdoc Student/unemployed/retired
Early Registration  $30 $15
Registration $35 $20
Walk-in (not guaranteed) $40 $25

Lecture-only is free.



We accept cash or checks at the door, or online payment via credit card. No-shows are responsible for full payment of registration fee.


Please register below or contact:

Len Radzilowski


Deadline for registration:

11:59PM, Monday, January 22 for early registration discount.
5:00PM, Friday, January 26 for regular registration.

Dinner Selection:

Seafood - Broiled salmon, lemon buerre blanc
Chicken - Breast of chicken with Portobello mushroom
Vegetarian - Vegetable napoleon

You should receive confirmation of your registration; if not, please contact us again.

We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.