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Pair creation, motion, and annihilation of topological defects in two-dimensional nematic liquid crystals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Original languageEnglish
Article number022704
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number2
Early online date20 Feb 2018
DateSubmitted - 12 Oct 2017
DateAccepted/In press - 30 Jan 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 20 Feb 2018
DatePublished (current) - Feb 2018


We present a novel framework for the study of disclinations in two-dimensional active nematic liquid crystals, and topological defects in general. The order tensor formalism is used to calculate exact multi-particle solutions of the linearized static equations inside a uniformly aligned state. Topological charge conservation requires a fixed difference between the number of half charges. Starting from a set of hydrodynamic equations, we derive a low-dimensional dynamical system for the parameters of the static solutions, which describes the motion of a half-disclination pair, or of several pairs. Within this formalism, we model defect production and annihilation, as observed in experiments. Our dynamics also provide an estimate for the critical density at which production and annihilation rates are balanced.

    Structured keywords

  • BrisSynBio
  • Bristol BioDesign Institute

    Research areas

  • Synthetic biology

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    Accepted author manuscript, 3.32 MB, PDF document


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