May 2, 2012Science and Technology
At a molecular scale, liquid crystal behavior leads to new materials

Liquid crystals underlie pixels that make sharp pictures on thin computer or television displays. Liquid crystal displays are already a multibillion dollar industry so this new discovery made by a team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will just pave the way for the technology's continuing growth. Researchers report the results of a computational study that shows liquid crystals, manipulated at the smallest scale, that can unexpectedly induce the molecules they interact with to form and self-organize in ways that could lead to entirely new classes of materials with new properties. At a small scale, it is difficult to pattern the structure of the materials. However, with this discovery, it is possible to use liquid crystals to create nanoscale morphologies. This could lead to new materials with an array of technological applications.

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