Nematic Liquid Crystal

The French scientist Georges Friedel developed the basic nomenclature utilized today to discuss liquid crystals in the 1920s. The term nematic, which he chose to describe the least ordered phase of liquid crystals, is derived from the Greek word for “thread.” The fitting moniker refers to the way the molecules in the material produce a characteristic threadlike optical texture when viewed between crossed polarizers. The long axes of the molecules that comprise a nematic liquid crystal are oriented in a parallel arrangement, but unlike those of smectic liquid crystals, are not arranged into layers. Some have compared the organization of the molecules in nematics to toothpicks in a box, which are free to move in various directions, but maintain their original orientation.

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