Another advantage that blue phase has over traditional LCDs is that it’s easier to manufacture. Today’s LCDs require a two-step alignment process to ensure that the image is uniform across the display. First, an alignment layer is put down that acts as a mold for the liquid crystals to sit in. Second, the crystals need to be physically rubbed so that they fit into grooves in the mold and become aligned. The helical structure of blue-phase liquid crystals means that these crystals naturally self-align.
While Samsung didn’t invent blue phase, the company has taken it farther than anyone else, says Philip Bos, a professor of chemical physics at Kent State University and assistant director of the Liquid Crystal Institute. Traditionally, he says, blue-phase liquid crystals have not been used in electronics because they haven’t been able to withstand a great temperature range. In 2005, researchers at Cambridge University, in the U.K., developed a high-temperature-range blue-phase material by altering its structure. While Samsung isn’t forthcoming with the details, Bos suspects that researchers at the company did something similar and added a polymer to the liquid crystals to make them stable enough to use in a display.