Hypercomplex fluids are amalgamations of polymers, colloids, or amphiphilic molecules that exhibit emergent properties not observed in elemental systems alone. Especially promising building-blocks for assembly of hypercomplex materials are molecules with anisotropic shape. Alone, these molecules form numerous liquid crystalline phases with symmetries and properties that are fundamentally different from those of conventional liquids or solids. When combined with other complex fluids, liquid crystals form materials with diverse emergent properties. In equilibrium, the interactions, dimensions, and shapes of these hypercomplex materials can be precisely controlled. When driven far from equilibrium, these materials can deform and even spontaneously flow in the absence of external forces. Here we describe recent experimental accomplishments in this rapidly developing research area. We emphasize how the common theme underlying these diverse efforts is their reliance on the basic physics of molecular liquid crystals developed in the 1970s.


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