Peter Raynes is an optoelectronic engineer who played a key role in the development of liquid crystal displays (LCDs). He helped develop the world’s first liquid crystal material suitable for displays and also invented many display technologies used in popular devices, including the LCD used in the first generation of mobile phones and laptop computers.
An LCD has an aligned layer of liquid crystal material sandwiched between two sheets of glass and polarising material. Applying a voltage causes the liquid crystals to re-align, changing the transmission of light. Peter’s research on liquid crystal materials improved the temperature range and switching properties of commercial materials. His device inventions, which have become industry standards, include a technique for eliminating optical defects in LCDs and a novel display, the ‘supertwist’ LCD, which was the first commercial LCD able to display large amounts of information.
Peter’s work is highly influential throughout industry and academia. His research, mainly carried out at RSRE (now QinetiQ), gained two Queens’ Awards for Technological Achievement, and generated significant royalties for the United Kingdom.