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Liquid Crystals: Between Order and Disorder

  • J. Prost
  • C. E. Williams

Abstract

In 1888, the botanist Friedrich Reinitzer [9.5] was studying cholesterol in plants. He had the idea of observing a cholesterol benzoate crystal through the microscope as it underwent melting. At 145.5°C, the crystal became cloudy but fluid. It then transformed into a transparent liquid, very like water, at 178.5°C. The natural inclination of any physicist would have been to doubt the purity of the sample. Indeed, this had been the conclusion of those scientists who had previously made the same observation. Reinitzer, however, trusted in the quality of his compound. He therefore introduced the idea that melting could take place in two stages, and in this way opened up a new area of research: the study of liquid crystals, intermediate states between liquids and solids.

Keywords

Liquid Crystal Screw Dislocation Nematic Liquid Crystal Nematic Phase Smectic Phase 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Bibliography

  1. 9.1
    Brochard, F. (1977) Nematic Fluids: Some Easy Demonstration Experiments, Collectif Orsay, Collège de France. Contemp. Phys. 18, 247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Collings, P.J. (1990) Liquid Crystals. Nature’s Delicate Phase of Matter. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
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    de Gennes, P.G. (1974) The Physics of Liquid Crystals. Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
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    de Gennes, P.G., Prost, J. (1990) The Physics of Liquid Crystals, 2nd ed. Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  5. 9.5
    Friedel, G. (1922) Ann. Phys. France 19, 273Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Prost
  • C. E. Williams

There are no affiliations available

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