This collection of references related to liquid crystals is by no means meant to be complete, nor is it representative of the wide range of work and workers in the field. What it does try to do is to provide an appreciation of the growth of scientific interest in liquid crystals over the past hundred years and more. To accomplish this we used the ADS Abstract Service to look at the number of abstracts with the term “liquid crystal” in their titles in ten-year periods. The results are shown in Fig. 9.1, starting with the first decade of publication beginning with 1900–1910.
It is clear from Fig. 9.1 that the discovery of liquid crystals did not
generate much scientific interest for several decades, and then interest in the topic began to accelerate. This growth in interest corresponds to the desire to move liquid crystals from the lab to commercial technology.
Once applications for liquid crystals began to emerge, the interest in liquid crystals, shown by the number of publications in recent decades, continued to grow. While it might be tempting to look at Fig. 9.2 in the final decade and think that interest is falling off, we are less than half way through the decade, so it appears that we are on track for another significant period in the history of liquid crystal research.
In the period 1900–1959, only 31 publications had “liquid crystal” in their titles. In the period 1960–1969, more than 130 abstracts with “liquid crystal” in their title were found, so “optic” was added as a requirement for the search. The time period from 1970 onward marks the beginning of the expansion of interest in liquid crystals and corresponds to the time when liquid crystals started to be successfully incorporated into technology. In the period 1970–1979, more than 1600 references were found, but only 153 of these included “liquid,” “crystal,” and “optic.” Interestingly, using these same works in the U.S. Patent Office database generates more than 1400 entries since 1976. After 1980, thousands of scientific and technical papers could be found related to liquid crystals, and new journals dedicated to work on liquid crystals began to emerge.
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