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Smectic Phases

Here is a sketch of the smectic liquid crystal phase. Now, as well as being orientationally aligned, the molecules form layers. This means that there is long-range translational order in one direction (perpendicular to the layers). In the simplest, smectic-A, phase, there is still disorder within each layer. Despite this partial ordering of the molecular positions, the substance still flows, and is therefore a liquid.

Many variants of the smectic phase exist; in some the molecules are tilted relative to the layers, and in others there is additional ordering within the layers.


Smectic Phase