We present a critical review of semiconducting/light emitting, liquid crystalline materials and their use in electronic and photonic devices such as transistors, photovoltaics, OLEDs and lasers. We report that annealing from the mesophase improves the order and packing of organic semiconductors to produce state-of-the-art transistors. We discuss theoretical models which predict how charge transport and light emission is affected by the liquid crystalline phase. Organic photovoltaics and OLEDs require optimization of both charge transport and optical properties and we identify the various trade-offs involved for ordered materials. We report the crosslinking of reactive mesogens to give pixellated full-colour OLEDs and distributed bi-layer photovoltaics. We show how the molecular organization inherent to the mesophase can control the polarization of light-emitting devices and the gain in organic, thin-film lasers and can also provide distributed feedback in chiral nematic mirrorless lasers. We update progress on the surface alignment of liquid crystalline semiconductors to obtain monodomain devices without defects or devices with spatially varying properties. Finally the significance of all of these developments is assessed.
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