Research at CMMPEMaterials — Introduction to liquid crystals

Not already familiar with the science of liquid crystals (LCs)?
Read on to discover more about these interesting and highly useful materials with our basic introduction to liquid crystals:

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1. Phases of matter

Solid, liquid, gas, plasma
Structural ordering

2. What is an LC?

Intro. to mesophases


3. LC mesophases

Chiral nematic
Chiral smectic
(Ferro-, ferri-, antiferro-)
Blue phase


4. Chemical structure

Typical LC structure
Influence of chemcial groups



5. Optical properties

Optical anisotropy

6. Electro-optical switching

Response to electric field


Many thanks go to the following people, for providing diagrams and in helping to write CMMPE's "Introduction to liquid crystals":
Philip Hands, Stephen Morris, Carrie Gillespie, Damian Gardiner, Qasim Malik, Catherine Dobson

References and further reading

P.J. Collings, "Liquid crystals: Nature's delicate phase of matter", 2nd edition, Princeton University Press, (2002).
P.J. Collings, M. Hird, "Introduction to liquid crystals", Taylor & Francis, (1997).
S. Chandrasekhar, "Liquid crystals", 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, (1992).

S.M. Morris, "Liquid crystals for linear & nonlinear photonics applications", PhD thesis, Dept of Engineering, Univ. of Cambridge, (2006).
C. Gillespie, "Dye doped liquid crystal lasers", PhD thesis, Dept of Engineering, Univ. of Cambridge, (2006).

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