Visualization of Topological Defects in Liquid Crystals

Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 9:30am - 10:20am
Keller 3-180
Robert Pelcovits (Brown University)
I will discuss our ongoing work on the visualization of topological defects in numerical simulations of liquid crystals. We are collaborating with a computer scientist who has developed techniques which allow easy visualization of the features of tensor fields, originally in the context of MRI scans of the brain. In our case we wish to visualize the nematic order parameter tensor in order to locate and characterize defects in our data set. Our data set is produced by quenching a Gay-Berne nematic fluid of 65K particles. I will discuss the challenges faced in the study of defects in fluid (as opposed to lattice) models of liquid crystals and the significant progress we have made to date.