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Issue 12, 2018
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Defect formation dynamics in curved elastic surface crystals

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Abstract

Topological defects shape the material and transport properties of physical systems. Examples range from vortex lines in quantum superfluids, defect-mediated buckling of graphene, and grain boundaries in ferromagnets and colloidal crystals, to domain structures formed in the early universe. The Kibble–Zurek (KZ) mechanism describes the topological defect formation in continuous non-equilibrium phase transitions with a constant finite quench rate. Universal KZ scaling laws have been verified experimentally and numerically for second-order transitions in planar Euclidean geometries, but their validity for non-thermal transitions in curved and topologically nontrivial systems still poses open questions. Here, we use recent experimentally confirmed theory to investigate topological defect formation in curved elastic surface crystals formed by stress-quenching a bilayer material. For both spherical and toroidal crystals, we find that the defect densities follow KZ-type power laws. Moreover, the nucleation sequences agree with recent experimental observations for spherical colloidal crystals. Our results suggest that curved elastic bilayers provide an experimentally accessible macroscopic system to study universal properties of non-thermal phase transitions in non-planar geometries.

Graphical abstract: Defect formation dynamics in curved elastic surface crystals

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Publication details

The article was received on 13 Nov 2017, accepted on 22 Feb 2018 and first published on 22 Feb 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM02233F
Citation: Soft Matter, 2018,14, 2329-2338
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Defect formation dynamics in curved elastic surface crystals

    N. Stoop and J. Dunkel, Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 2329
    DOI: 10.1039/C7SM02233F

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