Summary and Info
The liquid crystalline state has been known for about a century and has been studied by many techniques. Nuclear magnetic resonance has been used to study mesophases for thirty years, but it has been in very recent years that advances in this form of spectroscopy have led to a rapid growth in its applications to the study both of liquid crystals and of solutes dissolved in them. It has become apparent that no other method of studying liquid crystals can yield such a wealth of data and it is unrivalled as a means of probing the behaviour of the molecules in mesophases. There has also been a steady increase in the study of the shape of small molecules dissolved in liquid crystals via the analysis of their NMR spectrum. In fact, the study of solutes was until recently regarded as a separate activity to the study of liquid crystals themselves, but this artificial division arose only from the gap between the large amount of information that could be derived from the spectrum of a small molecule and the rather meagre data set obtainable from the spectra of liquid crystals. This gap has, however, narrowed and it is now possible to derive a very detailed picture of the structure and orientational ordering of the large molecules typical of those which form liquid crystals. There has also been a rapid growth of interest in the liquid crystalline state.
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