Regular Article - Soft Matter
Structural transformations of nematic disclinations
Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana, Jadranska 19, 1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2 Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Maribor, Koroška 160, 2000, Maribor, Slovenia
3 Jožef Stefan Institute, Jamova 39, 1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Accepted: 13 August 2022
Published online: 20 September 2022
Topological defects (TDs) are a consequence of symmetry breaking phase transitions and are ubiquitous in nature. An ideal testbed for their study are liquid crystals (LCs) owing to their large response to external stimuli and their large electrical and optical anisotropies. In this paper, we perform numerical simulations of topological defects of or enforced by the confining boundary. We use the Landau–de Gennes phenomenological model in terms of the tensor nematic order parameter and the Jones beam propagation model to simulate polarized optical microscopy images. We demonstrate the structure of closed disclination loops near the boundary known as boojums that can be topologically charged or chargeless. We show that pairs of chargeless disclination loops can interact repulsively or attractively depending on if they are arranged parallel or antiparallel, respectively. Sufficiently closely spaced antiparallel pairs can rewire while parallel pairs simply exhibit stronger bending due to the repulsion.
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