Electro-Optical Properties of Liquid Crystals

  • D. A. Dunmur
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSB, volume 64)


It is generally believed that Reinitzer’s microscopic observations1 on a cholesterol derivative marked the beginning of scientific interest in a range of new phases of matter known as liquid crystals. These thermodynamically stable phases are often referred to as mesophases since they occur between the solid crystalline phase and the fluid liquid phase, and they possess some of the physical characteristics of both solids and liquids. Although many fascinating properties of liquid crystals had been identified and characterized in the period 1900 to 1940, interest in these materials was renewed in the mid-1960’s prompted in part by the publication of G. W. Gray’s book “Molecular Structure and the Properties of Liquid Crystals”2 which reviewed the earlier work. The major stimulus to recent research on liquid crystals arose from the realization in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s that many of the unusual properties of liquid crystals, especially their electrooptical properties, could have technological applications. These applications have been the subject of a number of reviews,3,4,5 and it is intended in this chapter to concentrate on the application of electro-optical techniques to the investigation of the molecular aspects of the liquid crystalline phase.


Liquid Crystal Nematic Liquid Crystal Isotropic Phase Liquid Crystalline Phase Kerr Effect 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. A. Dunmur
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryThe UniversitySheffieldUK

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