Topological soft matter: from confined blue phases to fibers decorated by nematic drops

Event Dates: 

Thursday, February 11, 2016 - 12:00pm

CTQM Seminar Type: 

  • Related Seminar Series

Speaker Name(s): 

Slovodan Zumer

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

University of Ljubljana

Abstract, Event Details: 

The term »topological soft matter« is used for systems with stable defects in the orientational order-parameter field. In nematogenic liquid crystals interplay of confining geometry, surface anchoring, elasticity, chirality often lead to frustration and consequently to stable or metastable disclinations and solitonic deformations. Recently a lot of attention has been devoted to blue phases and confined & colloidal nematics.  Here I present two of our recent achievements based on the synergy of numerical modeling and experiments: i) detection of skyrmion lattices in confined blue phases[1] and ii) sensing the surface morphology of biofibers with nematic drops[2].

Studies were performed within local and international collaborations including S. Čopar, J. Fukuda, E.M. Godinho I. Muševič, A. Nych, U. Ognista, M. Ravnik, D. Seč, and M. Škarabot.

[1]  A. Nych, J. Fukuda, U. Ognysta, S. Žumer, and I. Muševič, Direct optical observation of a half-Skyrmion lattice in a blue-phase liquid-crystal,  submitted.

[2]  L. E. Aguirre, A. de Oliveira, D. Seč, S. Čopar, P. L. Almeida, M. Ravnik, M. H. Godinho and S. Žumer, Sensing surface morphology of biofibers by decorating spider silk and cellulosic filaments with nematic microdroplets, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., doi:10.1073/pnas.1518739113 (2016)