Image of Liquid Crystals Test
Liquid crystals sandwiched between two 1” squares of glass scatter green and blue light on a wall when the cells are triggered by laser illumination (right panels). (Credit: Daniel Maurer)

The sudden flash of a laser beam can incapacitate a pilot, risking the lives of passengers and crew. But because attacks can happen with different colored lasers – such as red, green, or even blue – scientists have had a difficult time developing a single method to impede all wavelengths of laser light.

Researchers developed liquid crystals to incorporate into aircraft windshields to block any color of bright, focused light. In the fully automatic system, a photoresistor detects laser light and triggers the power system to apply voltage. When the beam is removed, the system turns off the power, and the liquid crystals return to their transparent, liquid state.