LiqCryst Database

A comment by Prof. David Dunmur,
Centre for Molecular Materials and Department of Chemistry, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S3 7HF, UK

The liquid crystal group at Sheffield has had the chance to use LiqCryst for a number of years, and have worked with versions 1.0 through 2.0. The original version operating under DOS on a 386 PC required some patience , but the latest version we have (2.0) running on a Pentium under Windows 95 is very fast.

Our research interests have been concerned with synthesis and characterisation of new liquid crystals, measurements of their physical properties and the development of theories for structure/property relationships. The main use of LiqCryst has been to scan for structural types before embarking on the synthesis of new materials, but it has also been useful as a source of inspiration for new structures: there is nothing like looking at a chemical structure to stimulate new ideas for novel liquid crystals.

Having the recorded physical data at our fingertips together with the appropriate references has also been useful, and in some cases saved hours of literature searching. Some of the features of LiqCryst have not been used to any significant extent, for example the prediction capabilities for transition temperatures and phase types, although such a facility would probably be valuable in developing empirical structure/property corelations.

LiqCryst as a database of structures is invaluable, and one of its great virtues is that ideas for new structures can be quickly checked against the journal, patent and thesis literature, but it is also an excellent source of literature references, and with its various search capabilities has proved to be a useful aid to writing papers and reviews.

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