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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2002 Jul;66(1 Pt 1):011706. Epub 2002 Jul 29.

Dynamics of pattern coarsening in a two-dimensional smectic system.

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  • 1Department of Physics, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA.


We have followed the coarsening dynamics of a single layer of cylindrical block copolymer microdomains in a thin film. This system has the symmetry of a two-dimensional smectic. The orientational correlation length of the microdomains was measured by scanning electron microscopy and found to grow with the average spacing between +/-1/2 disclinations, following a power law xi2(t) approximately t(1/4). By tracking disclinations during annealing with time-lapse atomic force microscopy, we observe dominant mechanisms of disclination annihilation involving tripoles and quadrupoles (three and four disclinations, respectively). We describe how annihilation events involving multiple disclinations result in similarly reduced kinetic exponents as observed here. These results map onto a wide variety of physical systems that exhibit similarly striped patterns.

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