Complex-tensor theory of simple smectics

Jack Paget, Marco G. Mazza, Andew J. Archer, Tyler N. Shendruk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Matter self-assembling into layers generates unique properties, including structures of stacked surfaces, directed transport, and compact area maximization that can be highly functionalized in biology and technology. Smectics represent the paradigm of such lamellar materials — they are a state between fluids and solids, characterized by both orientational and partial positional ordering in one layering direction, making them notoriously difficult to model, particularly in confining geometries. We propose a complex tensor order parameter to describe the local degree of lamellar ordering, layer displacement and orientation of the layers for simple, lamellar smectics. The theory accounts for both dislocations and disclinations, by regularizing singularities within defect cores and so remaining continuous everywhere. The ability to describe disclinations and dislocation allows this theory to simulate arrested configurations and inclusion-induced local ordering. This tensorial theory for simple smectics considerably simplifies numerics, facilitating studies on the mesoscopic structure of topologically complex systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1048
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • cond-mat.soft


Dive into the research topics of 'Complex-tensor theory of simple smectics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this