Non-symmetric pinning of topological defects in living liquid crystals

Figueroa-Morales, N, Genkin, MM, Sokolov, A, Aranson, IS (December 2022) Non-symmetric pinning of topological defects in living liquid crystals. Communications Physics, 5 (1). ISSN 2399-3650

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DOI: 10.1038/s42005-022-01077-w


Topological defects, such as vortices and disclinations, play a crucial role in spatiotemporal organization of equilibrium and non-equilibrium systems. The defect immobilization or pinning is a formidable challenge in the context of the out-of-equilibrium system, like a living liquid crystal, a suspension of swimming bacteria in lyotropic liquid crystal. Here we control the emerged topological defects in a living liquid crystal by arrays of 3D-printed microscopic obstacles (pillars). Our studies show that while −1/2 defects may be easily immobilized by the pillars, +1/2 defects remain motile. Due to attraction between oppositely charged defects, positive defects remain in the vicinity of pinned negative defects, and the diffusivity of positive defects is significantly reduced. Experimental findings are rationalized by computational modeling of living liquid crystals. Our results provide insight into the engineering of active systems via targeted immobilization of topological defects.

Item Type: Paper
Subjects: organism description > bacteria
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Engel lab
SWORD Depositor: CSHL Elements
Depositing User: CSHL Elements
Date: 1 December 2022
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2022 17:25
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2022 17:25

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