Uncovering different states of topological defects in schlieren textures of a nematic liquid crystal

Uncovering different states of topological defects in schlieren textures of a nematic liquid crystal Topological defects are ubiquitously found in physical systems and therefore have been an important research subject of not only condensed matter physics but also cosmology. However, their fine structures remain elusive because of the microscopic scales involved. In the case of a liquid crystal, optical microscopy, although routinely used for the identification of liquid crystal phases and associated defects, does not have resolution high enough to distinguish fine structures of topological defects. Here we show that polarised and fluorescence microscopy, with the aid of numerical calculations on the orientational order and resulting image distortions, can uncover the structural states of topological defects with strength m =  ±1 in a thin cell of a nematic liquid crystal. Particularly, defects with m = +1 exhibit four different states arising from chiral symmetry breaking and up-down symmetry breaking. Our results demonstrate that optical microscopy is still a powerful tool to identify fine states of liquid crystalline defects. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Scientific Reports Springer Journals

Uncovering different states of topological defects in schlieren textures of a nematic liquid crystal

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Publisher
Nature Publishing Group UK
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by The Author(s)
Subject
Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, multidisciplinary; Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, multidisciplinary; Science, multidisciplinary
eISSN
2045-2322
D.O.I.
10.1038/s41598-017-16967-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Topological defects are ubiquitously found in physical systems and therefore have been an important research subject of not only condensed matter physics but also cosmology. However, their fine structures remain elusive because of the microscopic scales involved. In the case of a liquid crystal, optical microscopy, although routinely used for the identification of liquid crystal phases and associated defects, does not have resolution high enough to distinguish fine structures of topological defects. Here we show that polarised and fluorescence microscopy, with the aid of numerical calculations on the orientational order and resulting image distortions, can uncover the structural states of topological defects with strength m =  ±1 in a thin cell of a nematic liquid crystal. Particularly, defects with m = +1 exhibit four different states arising from chiral symmetry breaking and up-down symmetry breaking. Our results demonstrate that optical microscopy is still a powerful tool to identify fine states of liquid crystalline defects.

Journal

Scientific ReportsSpringer Journals

Published: Dec 1, 2017

References

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