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Title: Self-Assembly and Electrostriction of Arrays and Chains of Hopfion Particles in Chiral Liquid Crystals

Some of the most exotic condensed matter phases, such as twist grain boundary and blue phases in liquid crystals and Abrikosov phases in superconductors, contain arrays of topological defects in their ground state. Comprised of a triangular lattice of double-twist tubes of magnetization, the so-called ‘A-phase’ in chiral magnets is an example of a thermodynamically stable phase with topologically nontrivial solitonic field configurations referred to as two-dimensional skyrmions, or baby-skyrmions. Here we report that three-dimensional skyrmions in the form of double-twist tori called ‘hopfions’, or ‘torons’ when accompanied by additional self-compensating defects, self-assemble into periodic arrays and linear chains that exhibit electrostriction. In confined chiral nematic liquid crystals, this self-assembly is similar to that of liquid crystal colloids and originates from long-range elastic interactions between particle-like skyrmionic torus knots of molecular alignment field, which can be tuned from isotropic repulsive to weakly or highly anisotropic attractive by low-voltage electric fields.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2]
  1. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
  2. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1169777
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA--5900-62667
Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Grant/Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; 77 NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY Chemical and Material Sciences; liquid crystals; self assembly