The major American pharmaceutical technology company Merck has just decided to work with University of Leeds on some exciting new tech projects. This partnership will most likely yield a great amount of research into how liquid crystals can be used in high-tech eyewear.
Specifically, researchers at both the University of Leeds and Merck are interested in using liquid crystals in smart contact lenses and virtual reality (VR) eyeglasses. These crystals have already been used for years in smartphones, but many scientists believe they can be used to bring smart contacts and VR products to the next level.
Merck spent a whopping sum of £1 million in investments to work with the University of Leeds. One stipulation for this deal is that the University of Leeds will have to apply for all new patents jointly with Merck. This partnership will last for five years.
The university's School of Physics and Astronomy has already tested liquid crystals with graphene on contact lenses. This project successfully created an amazing switchable pair of contact lenses.
Researchers in Leeds have also created liquid crystal elastomers to help enhance eye lenses.
Mark Verall, who currently works in the display materials unit of Merck, told reporters that he can't wait to work with the wonderful researchers in Leeds' fabulous labs. Mr. Verall said that the University of Leeds is a perfect partner for Merck because both "research teams have broad expertise and have the means to build prototypes of the future devices."
Professors in Leeds are also very excited about the new partnership with Merck. Helen Gleeson, the head of the university's School of Physics and Astronomy, said that the collaboration will help researchers develop more innovative products and push the boundaries of smart contact and VR eyeglass design.
The official name for Merck's research and development program on the use of liquid crystals in optical devices is called "Emerging Innovation – LC 2021."
Merck & Co.Inc actually has a history that goes back to 1668. Named after the famous German banker family, the company we know today dates back to 1891 when it became an American subsidiary. Today, Merck does business around the world and is headquartered in Kenilworth, New Jersey. Merck is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker MRK.
University of Leeds was officially founded in 1831 as the Leeds School of Medicine. Today, the University of Leeds is a public university that has a student body of around 31,000. As the name suggests, the university's main campus is in the West Yorkshire city of Leeds.