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 'Cinderella' - biaxial liquid crystal - is found at last

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Date posted: 13/02/2010

Recent research at the DUBBLE beamline has proved the existence of liquid crystals with two main axes. Liquid crystals with a single main axis are already used in LCDs (liquid crystal displays), but crystals with two main axes can make computer monitors and optical switches much faster, as well as opening doors to new 3D technologies.

For decades, researchers have been on a quest for the 'Cinderella' of liquid crystals, a so-called biaxial liquid crystal. Some years ago, the formation of such liquid crystals with two main axes by complex banana-shaped molecules was reported. However, these results were contested, as some researchers believed that the observations might have originated from the complex internal structure of the crystals, which are not necessarily biaxial.

Researchers from Utrecht University, The Netherlands, have now proved the existence of biaxial liquid crystals in a much simpler system of inorganic colloidal particles, which are able to spontaneously form biaxial liquid crystals. The proof was obtained using DUBBLE, a facility which allows Dutch and Flemish researchers to experiment using X-rays at the ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) in Grenoble, France.

See the full Story via external site: www.physorg.com



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