Liquid crystals (LCs) are self-assembled dynamic functional soft materials which possess both order and mobility at the molecular, supramolecular and macroscopic levels. Hierarchical self-assembly of discrete components in liquid crystals offers a powerful strategy for producing nanostructured mesophases. LCs are finding increasing applications in a wide variety of fields including display technology, surface science, materials science, bioscience, etc. Recently, keeping in pace with topical science, liquid crystals have entered into the fascinating domains of nanoscience and nanotechnology as well.
To celebrate the International Year of Chemistry the Soft Condensed Matter Group of the Raman Research Institute, Bangalore, India organized a workshop on Soft Matter Chemistry during November 9–11, 2011. The workshop was attended by a large number of scientists deliberating the recent advancements on various facets of soft condensed matter, particularly, liquid crystals. Impressed with the recent advances in the liquid crystal field, the Editor-in-chief of the Israel Journal of Chemistry, Professor Ehud Keinan, approached the two of us, Takashi Kato (inaugural plenary speaker) and Sandeep Kumar (chairman of the workshop), with a proposal to publish a special issue on Functional Liquid Crystals.
Following the nature of the LC field, which is highly interdisciplinary and international, 12 research groups from 5 different countries working on many aspects of the LCs contributed to this special issue. The subject areas range from Materials Design (Goodby, Kumar, Eichhorn, Mayandithevar, Kato), Interactions (Kishikawa), Nanostructures (Tschierske, Kutsumizu), Inorganic (Miyamoto), Interfaces (Gupta), Displays (Toshima), Ferroelectrics (Dhar). We hope this special issue will provide a valuable reference for researchers working not only in the liquid crystal field but also in many other fields.
We would like to thank all the authors for their excellent contributions to this special issue and all the referees for their suggestions and critical comments. It is a pleasure to thank Dr. Brian Johnson and the production staff of the Journal for their excellent co-operation and help to bring up this special issue.
Takashi Kato Sandeep Kumar
The University of Tokyo Raman Research Institute, Bangalore