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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2010 Jun;81(6 Pt 1):060701. Epub 2010 Jun 8.

Disclination-mediated thermo-optical response in nematic glass sheets.

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Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HE, UK.


Nematic solids respond strongly to changes in ambient heat or light, significantly differently parallel and perpendicular to the director. This phenomenon is well characterized for uniform director fields but not for defect textures. We analyze the elastic ground states of a nematic glass in the membrane approximation as a function of temperature for some disclination defects with an eye toward reversibly inducing three-dimensional shapes from flat sheets of material, at the nanoscale all the way to macroscopic objects, including nondevelopable surfaces. The latter offers a paradigm to actuation via switchable stretch in thin systems.


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