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Title: Orientational order of motile defects in active nematics

The study of equilibrium liquid crystals has led to fundamental insights into the nature of ordered materials, as well as many practical applications such as display technologies. Active nematics are a fundamentally different class of liquid crystals, which are driven away from equilibrium by the autonomous motion of their constituent rodlike particles. This internally-generated activity powers the continuous creation and annihilation of topological defects, leading to complex streaming flows whose chaotic dynamics appear to destroy long-range order. Here, we study these dynamics in experimental and computational realizations of active nematics. By tracking thousands of defects over centimeter distances in microtubule-based active nematics, we identify a non-equilibrium phase characterized by system-spanning orientational order of defects. This emergent order persists over hours despite defect lifetimes of only seconds. Lastly, similar dynamical structures are observed in coarse-grained simulations, suggesting that defect-ordered phases are a generic feature of active nematics.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Brandeis Univ., Waltham, MA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0010432
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Materials
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 14; Journal Issue: 11; Journal ID: ISSN 1476-1122
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Brandeis Univ., Waltham, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE
OSTI Identifier:
1347135