Soft matter is a subfield of condensed matter comprising a variety of physical states that are easily deformed by thermal stresses or thermal fluctuations. They include liquids, colloids, polymers, foams, gels, granular materials, and a number of biological materials. These materials share an important common feature in that predominant physical behaviors occur at an energy scale comparable with room temperature thermal energy. At these temperatures, quantum aspects are generally unimportant. Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, who has been called the "founding father of soft matter," received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1991 for discovering that the order parameter from simple thermodynamic systems can be applied to the more complex cases found in soft matter, in particular, to the behaviors of liquid crystals and polymers.
Condensed matter physics is a branch of physics that deals with the physical properties of condensed phases of matter. Condensed matter physicists seek to understand the behavior of these phases by using physical laws. In particular, these include the laws of quantum mechanics, electromagnetism and statistical mechanics.
The most familiar condensed phases are solids and liquids, while more exotic condensed phases include the superconducting phase exhibited by certain materials at low temperature, the ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic phases of spins on atomic lattices, and the Bose–Einstein condensate found in cold atomic systems. The study of condensed matter physics involves measuring various material properties via experimental probes along with using techniques of theoretical physics to develop mathematical models that help in understanding physical behavior.
Liquid crystals (LCs) are matter in a state that has properties between those of conventional liquid and those of solid crystal. For instance, a liquid crystal may flow like a liquid, but its molecules may be oriented in a crystal-like way. There are many different types of liquid-crystal phases, which can be distinguished by their different optical properties (such as birefringence). When viewed under a microscope using a polarized light source, different liquid crystal phases will appear to have distinct textures. The contrasting areas in the textures correspond to domains where the liquid-crystal molecules are oriented in different directions. Within a domain, however, the molecules are well ordered. LC materials may not always be in a liquid-crystal phase (just as water may turn into ice or steam).
Liquid crystals can be divided into thermotropic, lyotropic and metallotropic phases. Thermotropic and lyotropic liquid crystals consist of organic molecules. Thermotropic LCs exhibit a phase transition into the liquid-crystal phase as temperature is changed. Lyotropic LCs exhibit phase transitions as a function of both temperature and concentration of the liquid-crystal molecules in a solvent (typically water). Metallotropic LCs are composed of both organic and inorganic molecules; their liquid-crystal transition depends not only on temperature and concentration, but also on the inorganic-organic composition ratio.
A display device is an output device for presentation of information in visual or tactile form (the latter used for example in tactile electronic displays for blind people). When the input information is supplied as an electrical signal, the display is called an electronic display.
Common applications for electronic visual displays are televisions or computer monitors.
Not to be confused with State of matter
In the physical sciences, a phase is a region of space (a thermodynamic system), throughout which all physical properties of a material are essentially uniform. Examples of physical properties include density, index of refraction, magnetization and chemical composition. A simple description is that a phase is a region of material that is chemically uniform, physically distinct, and (often) mechanically separable. In a system consisting of ice and water in a glass jar, the ice cubes are one phase, the water is a second phase, and the humid air over the water is a third phase. The glass of the jar is another separate phase. (See State of Matter#Glass)
A phase transition is the transformation of a thermodynamic system from one phase or state of matter to another.
A phase of a thermodynamic system and the states of matter have uniform physical properties.
A liquid-crystal display (LCD) is a flat panel display, electronic visual display, or video display that uses the light modulating properties of liquid crystals. Liquid crystals do not emit light directly.
LCDs are available to display arbitrary images (as in a general-purpose computer display) or fixed images which can be displayed or hidden, such as preset words, digits, and 7-segment displays as in a digital clock. They use the same basic technology, except that arbitrary images are made up of a large number of small pixels, while other displays have larger elements.
A monitor or a display is an electronic visual display for computers. The monitor comprises the display device, circuitry and an enclosure. The display device in modern monitors is typically a thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) thin panel, while older monitors used a cathode ray tube (CRT) about as deep as the screen size.
Originally, computer monitors were used for data processing while television receivers were used for entertainment. From the 1980s onwards, computers (and their monitors) have been used for both data processing and entertainment, while televisions have implemented some computer functionality. The common aspect ratio of televisions, and then computer monitors, has also changed from 4:3 to 16:9 (and 16:10).
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to serve several billion users worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks, of local to global scope, that are linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries an extensive range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents of the World Wide Web (WWW), the infrastructure to support email, and peer-to-peer networks.
Most traditional communications media including telephone, music, film, and television are being reshaped or redefined by the Internet, giving birth to new services such as voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Internet Protocol television (IPTV). Newspaper, book and other print publishing are adapting to website technology, or are reshaped into blogging and web feeds. The Internet has enabled and accelerated new forms of human interactions through instant messaging, Internet forums, and social networking. Online shopping has boomed both for major retail outlets and small artisans and traders. Business-to-business and financial services on the Internet affect supply chains across entire industries.