Dynamics of topological defects in freely floating smectic liquid crystal films and bubbles
Department of Physics, CWRU
Abstract.– Topological defects have a significant influence on the macroscopic properties of materials. In this context liquid crystals (LC) are useful as model systems because it is relatively easy to create and study well-controlled LC topological defects. We study the annihilation of topological defect pairs in the quasi-two-dimensional geometry of freely suspended smectic films. We prepare pairs with opposite topological charges and retrieve the interaction mechanisms from their trajectories. The importance of defect orientations is demonstrated. Trajectories are, in general, curved, depending on the mutual orientations of the defects and on the orientation of the pair respective to the far, undisturbed director. The experiments provide the basis for an adaption of the theoretical models to the real complexity of the annihilation.
Host: Charles Rosenblatt