Bowlic Liquid Crystal

Bowlic is the third type of liquid crystal in the world. Bowlic monomers were predicted to exist by Lui Lam in 1982. (The other two types are rodics and discotics, discovered in 1888 and 1977, respectively.) Three years later, bowlics was synthesized in Europe, and subsequently studied by people around the world. A bowlic molecule is like a rice bowl which breaks the up-down symmetry. Bowlics could thus be ferroelectric and have interesting properties and novel applications such as very fast liquid-crystal displays (LCD). Bowlic polymers were predicted by Lui Lam in 1987, and more generally in 1988. They were successfully synthesized by chemists in the United States in 1999. The word “bowlic” created by Lam is used by others in the title of their liquid crystal papers and is recognized officially by the IUPAC and formally in Handbook of Liquid Crystals.

Lam's major bowlic papers:

  1. Monomer prediction: "Liquid Crystals Phases and 'Dimensionality' of Molecules," Wuli 11, 171 (1982).
  2. Polymer prediction: "Bowlic Liquid Crystals," Mol. Cryst. Liq. Cryst. 146, 41 (1987); "Bowlic and Polar Liquid Crystal Polymers," Mol. Cryst. Liq. Cryst. 155, 531 (1988).
  3. Review: "Chapter 10: Bowlics," in Liquid Crystalline and Mesomorphic Liquid Crystals, eds. V. P. Shibaev and L. Lam (Springer, 1994).
  4. Review: “Bowlics: History, advances and applications,” Liquid Crystals Today26(4), 85 (2017).