One of the key factors affecting the performance of liquid crystal devices is the fringing field effect. This effect is the principal cause for the current resolution limitations of LCDs as well as the reduction in both the maximum deflection angle and the diffraction efficiency of beam steering devices. Recent studies in the reduction of the fringing field effects will be presented with applications in the development of ultra-small pixel sizes in LCD's and high performance LC-beam steering devices. A particular implementation using Gires-Tournois structure will be discussed. Another area of research to be discussed is a study of the fundamental limits of LCs and other electro-optic materials, with respect to their electro-optic coefficient. Fundamental physical limitations based on material stability considerations will be presented.