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Computing with non-orientable defects: nematics, smectics and natural patterns

Amit Acharya's picture

Chiqun Zhang         Amit Acharya        Alan C Newell          Shankar C Venkataramani

 

Defects, a ubiquitous feature of ordered media, have certain universal features, independent of the underlying physical system, reflecting their topological, as opposed to energetic properties. We exploit this universality, in conjunction with smoothing defects by "spreading them out," to develop a modeling framework and associated numerical methods that are applicable to computing energy driven behaviors of defects across the amorphous-soft-crystalline materials spectrum. Motivated by ideas for dealing with elastic-plastic solids with line defects, our methods can handle order parameters that have a head-tail symmetry, i.e. director fields, in systems with a continuous translation symmetry, as in nematic liquid crystals, and in systems where the translation symmetry is broken, as in smectics and convection patterns. We illustrate our methods with explicit computations.

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