Frustrated liquid-crystalline ordering as a key to topological soft matter

author: Slobodan Žumer, Fakulteta za matematiko in fiziko, Univerza v Ljubljani
published: March 30, 2018,   recorded: March 2018,   views: 3


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Topological soft matter is characterized by stable defects in its orientational ordering. The complexity and stability of defect structures depend on the frustration caused by conflicting effects of chirality, anisotropic elasticity, confinement, and external fields. We will show how simple liquid crystals like nematic, cholesteric, and blue phases form a "topological playground" where, by controlled frustration, we can stabilize point & line singular defects, and non-singular solitonic structures like skyrmions. In contrast to the well-known use of liquid crystals in displays, where defects are undesired objects, topological soft matter opens up new possibilities for applications in photonics, plasmonics, and sensorics.

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