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Title: Kinematics and dynamics of disclination lines in three-dimensional nematics

An exact kinematic law for the motion of disclination lines in nematic liquid crystals as a function of the tensor order parameterQis derived. Unlike other order parameter fields that become singular at their respective defect cores, the tensor order parameter remains regular. Following earlier experimental and theoretical work, the disclination core is defined to be the line where the uniaxial and biaxial order parameters are equal, or equivalently, where the two largest eigenvalues ofQcross. This allows an exact expression relating the velocity of the line to spatial and temporal derivatives ofQon the line, to be specified by a dynamical model for the evolution of the nematic. By introducing a linear core approximation forQ, analytical results are given for several prototypical configurations, including line interactions and motion, loop annihilation, and the response to external fields and shear flows. Behaviour that follows from topological constraints or defect geometry is highlighted. The analytic results are shown to be in agreement with three-dimensional numerical calculations based on a singular Maier–Saupe free energy that allows for anisotropic elasticity.

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Publisher / Repository:
Royal Society London
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Journal Name:
Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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