Brief Description of Liquid Crystal

Liquid Crystal is a state of matter between liquid and crystalline solid in which LC molecules align in an ordered array (Yeh 5). LC molecules are anisotropic to light, meaning that they exhibit properties with different effects when oriented in varied directions (Yeh 5).

These are very rough artistic interpretations of the nematic phase alignment that I made in Mathematica as inspired by Fig. 1.9 on pg. 12 of Liquid Crystal Display Drivers: Techniques and Circuits.

We will focus on the nematic phase (see Figure) of liquid crystal, as when aligned, the optical properties of the nematic phase are helpful in liquid crystal displays. Nematic phases are made up of rod-shaped molecules that are ordered with their long axes (the ones used with LCD are uniaxial) approximately parallel (Cristaldi 12).

References:

Cristaldi, David, Pennisi, Salvatorre and Francesco Pulvirenti. Liquid Crystal Display Drivers: Techniques and Circuits. Springer Science+Business Media B.V, 2009.

Yeh, Pochi and Claire Gu. Optics of Liquid Crystal Displays. Canada: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1999.

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One thought on “Brief Description of Liquid Crystal

  1. joandrade

    Good picture…how did you get Mathematica to produce pictures so easily? Also, thank you for ‘going back a step’ to explain what liquid crystal is and how/why it’s used in LCD screens. One question, though: How are the optical properties of the nematic phase of LC “helpful” in liquid crystal displays?

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