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Matter is generally divided into three states, namely solid, liquid, and gas. Liquid crystals form a fourth state of matter; they combine properties of liquids, such as fluidity and the ability to flow, with properties of crystalline solids, such as structural order and specific optical and electric properties. This unique combination makes liquid crystals valuable for numerous electro-optical applications, for example, in displays, cell phones, and televisions. They are also often found in living systems, for example in cell membranes made of phospholipids and in chromosomal DNA. On page 768 of this issue, Mundoor et al. ( 1 ) report a new class of liquid crystals made of long inorganic nanorods that are oriented in a perpendicular direction to the small organic molecules in which they are embedded.

Authors:   Philippe Poulin
Journal:   Science
Volume:   360
edition:   6390
Year:   2018
Pages:   712
DOI:   10.1126/science.aat7399
Publication date:   18-May-2018
Facts, background information, dossiers
  • phospholipids
  • nanorods
  • molecules
  • liquids
  • gas
  • flow
  • DNA
  • displays
  • cell membranes
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