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Title: Light-driven dynamic Archimedes spirals and periodic oscillatory patterns of topological solitons in anisotropic soft matter

Oscillatory and excitable systems very commonly exhibit formation of dynamic non-equilibrium patterns. For example, rotating spiral patterns are observed in biological, chemical, and physical systems ranging from organization of slime mold cells to Belousov-Zhabotinsky reactions, and to crystal growth from nuclei with screw dislocations. Here we describe spontaneous formation of spiral waves and a large variety of other dynamic patterns in anisotropic soft matter driven by low-intensity light. The unstructured ambient or microscope light illumination of thin liquid crystal films in contact with a self-assembled azobenzene monolayer causes spontaneous formation, rich spatial organization, and dynamics of twisted domains and topological solitons accompanied by the dynamic patterning of azobenzene group orientations within the monolayer. Linearly polarized incident light interacts with the twisted liquid crystalline domains, mimicking their dynamics and yielding patterns in the polarization state of transmitted light, which can be transformed to similar dynamic patterns in its intensity and interference color. This shows that the delicate light-soft-matter interaction can yield complex self-patterning of both. Finally, we uncover underpinning physical mechanisms and discuss potential uses.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). Dept. of Physics; Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). Liquid Crystal Materials Research Center
  2. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). Dept. of Physics; Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). Liquid Crystal Materials Research Center; Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). Dept. of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering Program; National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States) and Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). Renewable and Sustainable Energy Inst.
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-5900-64056
Journal ID: ISSN 1094-4087
Grant/Contract Number:
DGE-0801680; ER46921
Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Optics Express
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 23; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 1094-4087
Publisher:
Optical Society of America (OSA)
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation (NSF); USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; liquid crystals; nonlinear optical materials; nonlinear optics at surfaces; anisotropic optical materials
OSTI Identifier:
1222327
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1220725