Topological defects and geometric memory across the nematic-smectic A liquid crystal phase transition

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We study transformations of self-organised defect arrays at the nematic-smectic A liquid crystal phase transition, and show that these defect configurations are correlated, or "remembered", across the phase transition. A thin film of thermotropic liquid crystal is subjected to hybrid anchoring by an air interface and a water substrate, and viewed under polarised optical microscopy. Upon heating from smectic-A to nematic, a packing of focal conic domains melts into a dense array of boojums-nematic surface defects-which then coarsens by pair-annihilation. With the aid of Landau-de Gennes numerical modeling, we elucidate the topological and geometrical rules underlying this transformation. In the transition from nematic to smectic-A, we show that focal conic domain packings are organised over large scales in patterns that retain a geometric memory of the nematic boojum configuration, which can be recovered with remarkable fidelity.
Publisher
ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY
Issue Date
2019-05
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Citation

SOFT MATTER, v.15, no.29, pp.5835 - 5841

ISSN
1744-683X
DOI
10.1039/c9sm00781d
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/264902
Appears in Collection
NT-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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