Active smectics on a sphere

Research output: Preprint/documentation/reportPreprint



The dynamics of active smectic liquid crystals confined on a spherical surface is explored through an active phase field crystal model. Starting from an initially randomly perturbed isotropic phase, several types of topological defects are spontaneously formed, and then annihilate during a coarsening process until a steady state is achieved. The coarsening process is highly complex involving several scaling laws of defect densities as a function of time where different dynamical exponents can be identified. In general the exponent for the final stage towards the steady state is significantly larger than that in the passive and in the planar case, i.e., the coarsening is getting accelerated both by activity and by the topological and geometrical properties of the sphere. A defect type characteristic for this active system is a rotating spiral of evolving smectic layering lines. On a sphere this defect type also determines the steady state. Our results can in principle be confirmed by dense systems of synthetic or biological active particles.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2023
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