Although matter is divided in the three well-defined phases solid, liquid, and gas, there are certain states not exclusively belonging to either one of these categories. Liquid crystals (LCs) are one of these meta-phases, ordered like solids but fluid like liquids. Since their discovery in 1888 by Friedrich Reinitzer , LCs raised an ever-increasing interest thanks to their unique properties in terms of birefringence, high polarizability and the easy tunability of these properties by external stimuli like electric or magnetic fields, resulting in their vast exploitation in present day technology. Nonetheless very little is known about the actual inter-, intra-molecular and coupled electro-nuclear dynamics in such unique materials.
Reinitzer, F., Beiträge zur kenntniss des cholesterins. . Monatshefte für Chemie/Chemical Monthly, 1888. 9(1): p. 20.