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Exotic ordered structures of a thin film of a chiral liquid crystal

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DNM - The mathematical design of new materials

Liquid crystals
fascinated scientists because they exhibit ordered structures in diverse length
scales. Here we focus on structures formed in a thin film of a chiral liquid
crystal that allows spontaneous local twist of orientational order. By
numerical calculations based on a continuum theory describing the orientational
order by a second-rank tensor, we show that a thin film of a chiral liquid
crystal exhibit a variety of exotic mesoscale structures depending on
temperature, film thickness and surface anchoring that dictates the
orientational order at the film surfaces [1,2]. These structures are understood
as a result of frustrations between the bulk ordering and the surface
anchoring, and include a hexagonal lattice of Skyrmions, vortex-like topological
entities that have been shown to emerge in various condensed matter systems. We
also briefly mention the optical properties of these structures [2,3].

[1] J. Fukuda and S. Žumer, Phys. Rev. Lett.
104, 017801 (2010); Phys.
Rev. Lett. 106, 097801 (2011); Nature Commun. 2,
246 (2011).

[2] A. Nych, J. Fukuda, et al., Nature Phys. 13,
1215 (2017).

[3] J. Fukuda et al., Sci. Rep. 8, 17234 (2018).

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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