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Decomposition vs. escape of topological defects in a nematic liquid crystal

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Abstract

Nematic cells patterned with square arrays of strength m = ±1 topological defects were examined as a function of cell thickness (3 < h < 7.5 μm), temperature, and applied voltage. Thicker cells tend to exhibit an escape or partial escape of the nematic director as a means of mitigating the elastic energy cost near the defect cores, whereas thinner cells tend to favor splitting of the integer defects into pairs of half-integer strength defects. On heating the sample into the isotropic phase and cooling back into the nematic, some apparently split defects can reappear as unsplit integer defects, or vice versa. This is consistent with the system's symmetry, which requires a first order transition between the two relaxation mechanisms.

Graphical abstract: Decomposition vs. escape of topological defects in a nematic liquid crystal

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Publication details

The article was received on 29 Sep 2017, accepted on 24 Oct 2017 and first published on 30 Oct 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM01954H
Citation: Soft Matter, 2017, Advance Article
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    Decomposition vs. escape of topological defects in a nematic liquid crystal

    B. S. Murray, S. Kralj and C. Rosenblatt, Soft Matter, 2017, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7SM01954H

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