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Ohio Third Frontier Awards $3 Million to Kent State University

Posted Aug. 6, 2012

Hiroshi Yokoyama, Ph.D., is director of Kent State’s Liquid Crystal Institute, which received a $3 million grant from the Ohio Third Frontier Commission for new concept devises based on nanoscale engineering of polymer-liquid crystal interface.

The Ohio Third Frontier Commission has approved a $3 million award to Kent State University. The award is part of the more than $21 million in grants recommended by the commission through the Ohio Third Frontier Open Innovation Incentive and the Ohio Third Frontier Innovation Platform Program to support innovation activities in the state.

Kent State’s $3 million award will be used for new concept devices based on nanoscale engineering of polymer-liquid crystal interface. Kent State, home of the internationally recognized Liquid Crystal Institute® that is the most comprehensive research and educational center in the field of liquid crystals, serves as lead on the project and will be collaborating with four local companies: Kent Displays Inc., AlphaMicron Inc. and Crystal Diagnostics Inc., all of Kent, Ohio, and Akron Polymer System Inc. of Akron, Ohio.

Kent State will work with these companies to push their core products to the next level of commercial success within three to five years. With its state-of-the-art facility and world-class staff members, Kent State’s Liquid Crystal Institute is well-positioned to help these companies achieve their goals. The project will have an impact on the local and state economy by creating an industry-academia cluster for flexible electronics, where the design and manipulation of interfaces between polymer and liquid crystals play a decisive role.

“We are excited and grateful for the continued support from the state of Ohio to our years of effort to establish a cluster of high-tech industry and academia focused on novel liquid crystal applications beyond LCD (liquid crystal display) TV,” says Hiroshi Yokoyama, director of Kent State’s Liquid Crystal Institute. “Northeast Ohio has a unique synergy between liquid crystal and polymer, and basic research and application opportunities that is found nowhere in the world. The Ohio Third Frontier Innovation Platform Program grant strongly complements the National Science Foundation’s Partnership for Innovation grant awarded last year to the Liquid Crystal Institute with the common objective to realize the research-driven innovation with true economic impact, capitalizing the research asset of the Liquid Crystal Institute.”

Grant McGimpsey, Kent State’s vice president for research, says the Ohio Third Frontier grant fits in well with the Ohio Board of Regents’ recent report on commercialization efforts.

“This award is a nice tie-in to the effort by the Ohio Board of Regents Commercialization Task Force that recently submitted its report to the legislature and governor,” McGimpsey says. “The report discusses how universities can become more engaged with the corporate community in terms of technology development and commercialization. This award demonstrates that Kent State is already doing a lot of things that the task force has recommended.”

For more information about Ohio Third Frontier, visit

For more information about Kent State’s Liquid Crystal Institute, visit

For more information about research at Kent State, visit