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Defect coalescence in spherical nematic shells

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Publication details

JournalPhysical Review E
DatePublished - 28 Sep 2012
Issue number3
Number of pages4
Pages (from-to)1-4
Original languageEnglish


We study coalescence of topological defects in nematic liquid crystals confined to spherical shells using both experiments and computer simulations. We observe that the four s = +1/2 defects that are present due to topological constraints imposed by the spherical geometry coalesce by pairs after changing the molecular orientation at the outer surface from tangential to perpendicular; the result is the formation of two single s = +1 defects. It is noteworthy that the speed of the coalescence process is peaked when the defects are at opposite points on the equator of the shell; this maximum results from the thickness inhomogeneity of the shells.

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