The research field of liquid crystals and their applications is recently changing from being largely focused on display applications and optical shutter elements in various fields, to quite novel and diverse applications in the area of nanotechnology and nanoscience. Functional nanoparticles have recently been used to a significant extent to modify the physical properties of liquid crystals by the addition of ferroelectric and magnetic particles of different shapes, such as arbitrary and spherical, rods, wires and discs. Also, particles influencing optical properties are increasingly popular, such as quantum dots, plasmonic, semiconductors and metamaterials. The self-organization of liquid crystals is exploited to order templates and orient nanoparticles. Similarly, nanoparticles such as rods, nanotubes and graphene oxide are shown to form lyotropic liquid crystal phases in the presence of isotropic host solvents. These effects lead to a wealth of novel applications, many of which will be reviewed in this publication.
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