Liquid Crystals, An In-Between Stage
Basically, liquid crystals are materials that possess the physical properties of both a solid and a liquid. One of their more fascinating properties (and the one utilized in LCD displays) is their ability to change position depending on the voltage applied to them.
For now, though, let’s take a closer look at them - it’s always more interesting when you know more about them. As is often the case in the world of science, liquid crystals were discovered by chance.
In 1888, Friedrich Reinitzer, an Austrian botanist, was investigating the role that cholesterol plays in plants. One of his experiments consisted of exposing the material to heat. He discovered that the crystal turned cloudy and fluid at 145.5° and then became a true liquid at 178.5°. He shared his discovery with Otto Lehmann, a German physicist, who discovered that the liquid possessed certain properties of a crystal, particularly regarding its behavior when exposed to light. Hence the name chosen by Otto Lehmann : "liquid crystal."