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Objects that differ from their mirror images, such as the left and right hands, play an important role in physics at all lengths scales, from elementary particles to macroscopic systems. The handedness, or chirality, of molecules in liquid crystals has a remarkable influence on the macroscopic physical properties of these systems, including the appearance of new phases. Indeed, the majority of optical applications of liquid crystals is due to chiral structures, namely the thermochromic effect of cholesteric liquid crystals, the optical activity in twisted nematic liquid crystal displays, and the ferroelectric and antiferroelectric switching of smectic liquid crystals. This book describes the main aspects of chirality in liquid crystals, and points out some of the open questions of current research. The chapters, each by an expert in the field, review the highlights of the important topics and representative questions in the field of chiral liquid crystals.
Classroom Experiments with Chiral Liquid Crystals.- From a Chiral Molecule to a Chiral Anisotropic Phase.- Chemical Structures and Polymorphism.- Cholesteric Liquid Crystals: Defects and Topology.- Cholesteric Liquid Crystals: Optics, Electro-optics, and Photo-optics.- Blue Phases.- Smectic Liquid Crystals: Ferroelectric Properties and Electroclinic Effect.- Smectic Liquid Crystals: Antiferroelectric and Ferrielectric Phases.- Twist Grain Boundary Phases.- Columnar Liquid Crystals.- Some Aspects of Polymer Dispersed and Polymer Stabilized Chiral Liquid Crystals.- Chirality in Liquid Crystal Elastomers.- Phase Chirality of Micellar Lyotropic Liquid Crystals.- Traveling Phase Boundaries with the Broken Symmetries of Life.