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Ferrimagnetic inorganic nanorods have been used as building blocks to construct liquid crystals with optical properties that can be instantly and reversibly controlled by manipulating the nanorod orientation using considerably weak external magnetic fields (1 mT). Under an alternating magnetic field, they exhibit an optical switching frequency above 100 Hz, which is comparable to the performance of commercial liquid crystals based on electrical switching. By combining magnetic alignment and lithography processes, it is also possible to create patterns of different polarizations in a thin composite film and control over the transmittance of light in particular areas. Developing such magnetically responsive liquid crystals opens the door toward various applications, which may benefit from the instantaneous and contactless nature of magnetic manipulation.
Wang, M., He, L., Zorba, S., & Yin, Y. (2014). Magnetically actuated liquid crystals. Nano Letters, 14(7), 3966–3971. DOI: 10.1021/nl501302s