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Active nematics and topological defects

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Active systems, such as the cytoskeleton and bacterial suspensions, provide their own energy and hence operate out of thermodynamic equilibrium. Continuum models describing active systems are closely related to those describing liquid crystal hydrodynamics, together with an additional ‘active’ stress term. We discuss the role of topological defects in the turbulent-like flow which occurs in many dense active nematics, and relate our results to experiments on suspensions of microtubules and molecular motors.

This talk is part of the Theory of Condensed Matter series.

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