Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Hengky Chandrahalim, PhD


This research impacts the development of a cost-saving, on-chip device that can replace a wide range of costly, bulky sensors for commercial and defense applications. In particular, the goals of this work were to design and test a sensor that uses the optical properties of liquid crystal (LC) to detect acoustic waves. This began with developing a method to fine-tune the optical features of the liquid crystal. Statistical analysis of select experimental variables, or factors, lead to ideal settings of those variables when creating the sensor. A two-factor and three-factor experiment were separately conducted and analyzed as a preliminary demonstration of this system. The identification of dominant and ideal factor levels, including their interactions, enabled a statistically enhanced molecular design method of LC for use in many types of sensor applications. Detecting acoustic waves using the optical properties of a material, or optoacoustic detection, was chosen as the application to test the designed LC. Research continued with analytically calculating the interaction between the soundwaves and the optical and mechanical properties of the LC. Systematic comparisons between a commercially available acoustic sensor system and this theoretical LC optoacoustic detector are provided. Development concluded with a test which demonstrated that ordered, chiral nematic phase of LC can inherently improve an existing acoustic sensing device. Recommendations for further development are discussed.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number