PerspectiveMaterials Science

How to achieve a successful biaxial marriage

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Science  18 May 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6390, pp. 712-713
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat7399

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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.