Structures and Phase Transitions in Thermotropic Liquid Crystals
Liquid crystals1 have structural order intermediate between conventional liquids and solids. Thermotropic liquid crystal phases form in pure compounds or homogeneous mixtures as the temperature is changed. Lyotropic liquid crystals form when amphiphilic molecules are dissolved in water, or another suitable solvent, and concentration is the main physical variable. Polymeric liquid crystalline order occurs in fluid polymer melts and solutions. We shall limit our discussion to thermotropic liquid crystals, for which the knowledge is most complete.
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