Merck is launching a liquid crystal-based resolution for clever antennas

Energy and cost efficient solution for connectivity even in remote areas

Merck announced today on March 30th that it is commercially launching licriOn ™, a liquid crystal-based solution for electron beam-guided smart antennas.

Merck announced today on March 30th that it is commercially launching licriOn ™, a liquid crystal-based solution for electron beam-guided smart antennas. / Courtesy of Merck

The licriOn ™ technology uses tailor-made molecules with optimized microwave properties to enable a new type of antenna that improves modern data communication.

These antennas can easily be connected to stationary and moving satellites. The energy and cost efficiency of the liquid crystal based solution helps to achieve full connectivity access, even in remote areas where fast internet connections are today unavailable or unaffordable.

“Fast and reliable Internet access is a key driver of development and progress,” said Michael Heckmeier, head of the Display Solutions division in the Electronics division of Merck. “With the introduction of licriOn ™, we are demonstrating Merck’s commitment to mastering the world’s greatest challenges with our science and technology. By leveraging our liquid crystal know-how in this exciting application area, we are creating new opportunities for those who do not yet have a permanent internet connection. We believe in the potential of our smart antenna technology to advance digital life for everyone. ”

<> LicriOn ™ -based antennas will usher in a new era in communication systems

High performance antennas are an essential part of modern wireless communication systems. Higher frequencies often require antenna beam control to improve the quality of the connection between transmitting and receiving stations. In some applications such as satellite broadband with non-geostationary satellites, such antennas are essential.

The beam from licriOn ™ -based antennas can be steered electronically in the desired direction without physically realigning the antenna. This is achieved by combining an array of antenna elements with a thin layer of licriOn ™ liquid crystal. The liquid crystals can be switched at the molecular level to enable powerful, precise and energy-efficient beam control.

The advantages of licriOnTM-based smart antennas are numerous. They offer great performance, are more compact, and require less energy. The manufacturing costs of these intelligent antennas are considerably lower compared to conventional solutions.

In addition, they do not require as frequent maintenance, repair or replacement as their mechanical counterparts. These intelligent antennas are very flat, far more compact than previous antenna generations and allow a modular structure. Therefore, they can be integrated almost seamlessly into ships, aircraft and other vehicles.

A car with a smart antenna is traveling on a dirt road. / Courtesy of Merck

<> Further development of digital life with licriOnTM liquid crystal technology from Merck

Thanks to new satellite constellations, it is now possible to connect vehicles, machines or mobile phones even in the most remote corners of the world. However, a new generation of intelligent antennas is required to realize the full potential of these networks. Ubiquitous connectivity requires versatile, energy efficient and affordable technology.

licriOn ™ is powered by liquid crystals from Merck. The company has explored the possibilities of liquid crystals for over 110 years and now offers a breakthrough innovation that enables the transmission of large amounts of data and high-speed connections.
Liquid crystal technology therefore plays an important role in technological megatrends such as 5G, smart cities and future mobility.

Thanks to its energy efficiency and affordability, it also has considerable potential to improve the lives of people in remote and less developed regions as the internet facilitates access to education, business opportunities and social interaction.

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