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Knots and links of disclination lines in chiral nematic colloids

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Topological Dynamics in the Physical and Biological Sciences

Nematic braids formed by disclination lines entangling colloidal particles in nematic liquid crystal are geometrically stabilized and restricted by topology. Experiments with nematic braids show rich variety of knotted and linked disclinations loops that can be manipulated and rewired by laser light. We describe a simple rewiring formalism and demonstrate how the self-linking number of nematic ribbons enables a classification of entangled structures. Controlled formation of arbitrary microscopic links and knots in nematic colloids provides a new route to the fabrication of soft matter with special topological features.


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