Title

Ferroelectric Liquid Crystals: The 2004 Benjamin Franklin Medal In Physics Presented To Robert B. Meyer Of Brandeis University

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-1-2005

Published In

Journal Of The Franklin Institute: Engineering And Applied Mathematics

Abstract

In a theoretical examination of the structures of liquid crystal phases, Robert B. Meyer in 1975 creatively utilized symmetry arguments to predict that tilted, layered liquid crystal phases of chiral molecules are ferroelectric. He then engaged the help of organic chemists to synthesize a compound that might possess such a phase, and once the material was in his hands, Meyer not only verified its ferroelectricity, but also suggested how such a phase could be used for extremely fast displays. This discovery of ferroelectricity in a fluid system with the possibility for unique applications surprised the entire condensed matter research community and quickly paved the way for both increased scientific understanding and significant technological advancement. For this creative synthesis of theory and experiment, Meyer was awarded the 2004 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics. (c) 2005 The Franklin Institute. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.