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Science  30 Jan 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5658, pp. 585
DOI: 10.1126/science.303.5658.585d

Molecules in liquid crystalline phases tend to orient in the same direction, and this orientation can be controlled or disrupted by the presence of surfaces or embedded particles. If the particles are asymmetric, then the disruptive forces between the molecules and the particles will also be orientation dependent. Lapointe et al. (p. 652) measured these forces as they magnetically rotated nickel nanowire within a liquid crystal. The measured forces agree with theoretical predictions that had not been previously verified. By continuously rotating the wire, they could cause the liquid crystal orientation to uniformly twist though the height of the sample, which then caused the wire to levitate.


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