A liquid crystal is a compound that exhibits simultaneously both solid and fluid properties. This unusual behavior confers unique optical and electrical properties, which are exploited in many applications, most notably the multi-billion dollar liquid crystal display (LCD) industry. Liquid crystallinity results from the presence of a mesogenic structure, with anisotropy of shape or polarity. There are two types of liquid crystal polymers, those formed of rigid monomer units and those with mesogenic groups grafted to the chain backbone. This chapter focuses on the dynamics of liquid crystals—how it is related to structure and its behavior near thermodynamic phase transitions.
Keywords: liquid crystals, liquid-crystal elastomers, nematic, smectic, cholesteric, clearing temperature, Maier–Saupe theory, thermotropic, lyotropic, mesogens, mesophase, rigid-rod polymers, stripe domains
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