Advanced Materials for Photonics and Lasers

Headshot of Shaw Chen.

Principal Investigator

Shaw Chen

  • PhD chemical engineering, University of Minnesota; 1981
  • Assistant, associate, and full professor of chemical engineering; 1981-present
  • Chemical engineering department chair; 2000-2009
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, University of Rochester; 2007
  • Scientist and senior scientist, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, University of Rochester; 1987-
  • Assistant scientist, Institute of Nuclear Energy Research, Lung-Tan, Taiwan; 1976-78
  • BS chemical engineering, MS chemistry, National Taiwan University; 1971, 1973
More about Professor Chen


Research Expertise

  • Glassy liquid crystals
  • Mesomorphic ceramics
  • Robust photoalignment polymers
  • Organic semiconductors
  • Self-organization of nanoparticles
  • Optoelectronic devices

Research Summary

Following traditional chemical engineering programs in the early 1980s through the early 1990s, organic optoelectronic materials have constituted the core of our research encompassing molecular design, computational chemistry, materials synthesis and processing, and optoelectronic device applications. In particular, we have developed liquid crystals, including monodisperse conjugated systems, capable of preserving spontaneous molecular organization in glassy state with elevated transition temperatures while ensuring long-term stability against crystallization spanning decades. Various device concepts have been demonstrated using selected materials, e.g. nonabsorbing polarizers, notch filters and reflectors, polarized electroluminescence, field-effect transistors, solid-state lasers, and robust photoalignment films for orienting both fluid and glassy liquid crystals. Current activities include: (1) cholesteric glassy liquid crystals as circular polarizers in support of a novel night-vision technology; (2) mesomorphic ceramic films for polarization control of powerful lasers; and (3) sustainable synthesis and processing of advanced optical materials.


  1. S. H. Chen, J. C. Mastrangelo, H. Shi, and S. Krishnamurthy, “Thermotropic Chiral Nematic Liquid Crystalline Copolymers,” U.S. Patent No. 5,332,522; July 26, 1994.
  2. S. H. Chen and H. Shi, “Glassy Chiral Nematic Liquid Crystalline Compositions of Low Molar Mass and Optical Devices Formed from Same,” U.S. Patent No. 5,378,393; January 3, 1995.
  3. S. H. Chen and H. Shi, “Glassy Low Molar Mass Chiral Nematic Liquid Crystalline Compositions and Optical Articles Formed Therefrom,” U.S. Patent No. 5,514,296; May 7, 1996.
  4. S. H. Chen and H. Shi, “Chiral Nematic Liquid Crystalline Compositions,” European Patent No. 0,729,498, B1; July 25, 2001.
  5. S. H. Chen and F. Y. Fan, “Glass-Forming Liquid Crystalline Compositions of Low Molar Mass and Optical Devices Formed Therefrom,” U.S. Patent No. 6,558,572 B2; May 6, 2003.
  6. S. H. Chen and F. Y. Fan, “Glass-Forming Liquid Crystalline Compositions of Low Molar Mass and Optical Devices Formed Therefrom,” U.S. Patent No. 6,730,242 B2; May 4, 2004.
  7. S. H. Chen and P. H. M. Chen, “Glassy Chiral-Nematic Liquid Crystals and Optical Devices Containing the Same,” U.S. Patent No. 7,001,648; February 21, 2006; to be updated.
  8. S. H. Chen and Y. Geng, “Light-Emitting Organic Oligomer Compositions,” U.S. Patent No. 7,057,009 B2; June 6, 2006.
  9. W. Culligan, Y. Geng, S. H. Chen, K. P. Klubek, K. M. Vaeth, and C. W. Tang, “Organic Light-Emitting Diodes for Production of Polarized Light,” U.S. Patent No. 7,037,599 B2; May 2, 2006.
  10. S. H. Chen and C. Kim, “Cholesteric Glassy Liquid Crystals with Hybrid Chiral-Nematic Mesogens,” U. S. Patent No. 8,562,863 B2; October 22, 2013.
  11. S. H. Chen, L. Zeng, and Y.-H. Lee, “Hybrid Host Materials for Electrophosphorescent Devices,” U. S. Patent No. 9,040,718 B2; May 26, 2015.
  12. M. Anthamatten and S. H. Chen, “Mesomorphic Ceramics Films via Blade Coating of Nanorod Suspensions for High-Power Laser Applications,” U. S. Patent Application, Atty Docket 302-0002US; 19 October 2021 (UR 2-19010).
  13. S. H. Chen, M. Anthamatten, and J. Ou, “One-Way Circularly Polarized Light Generated by Propagation through Ch-GLC Films Doped with Light-Absorbing Dyes,” U. S. Patent Application, Atty Docket 306-0032US; 21 January 2022 (UR 2-21022).

Contact Information

4313 Wegmans Hall
University of Rochester
Rochester, New York 14627
Telephone: (585) 275-4040 / Facsimile: (585) 273-1348