Singular values, nematic disclinations, and emergent biaxiality

Simon Copar*, Mark R. Dennis, Randall D. Kamien, Slobodan Zumer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Both uniaxial and biaxial nematic liquid crystals are defined by orientational ordering of their building blocks. While uniaxial nematics only orient the long molecular axis, biaxial order implies local order along three axes. As the natural degree of biaxiality and the associated frame that can be extracted from the tensorial description of the nematic order vanishes in the uniaxial phase, we extend the nematic director to a full biaxial frame by making use of a singular value decomposition of the gradient of the director field instead. The degrees of freedom are unveiled in the form of quasidefects and the similarities and differences between the uniaxial and biaxial phase are analyzed by applying the algebraic rules of the quaternion group to the uniaxial phase.

Original languageEnglish
Article number050504
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review E: Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Volume87
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2013

Keywords

  • LIQUID-CRYSTALS
  • WAVE DISLOCATION LINES
  • BLUE PHASES
  • RING DEFECTS
  • POINT-DEFECTS
  • ORDERED MEDIA
  • BREAKING
  • CLASSIFICATION
  • TOPOLOGICAL DEFECTS
  • LOOPS

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