Active smectics on a sphere

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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
Article number185001
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024

External IDs

Scopus 85183970967



  • active smectics, coarsening, topological defects