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Geometry, topology and complex fluids: applications to liquid crystals and disordered elastic systems


Geometry and topology play a fundamental role in several research areas in STEM, from fundamental approaches in high-energy Physics, such as gauge theory and string theory, to modern topics in condensed matter Physics, such as topological phases in insulators or superconductors and the non-crystalline structure of glasses. Our research project involves geometric and topological aspects of considerable relevance to two research lines in the area of complex fluids: liquid crystals and disordered elastic systems. We propose to study a special type of liquid crystal called smectic: a fluid of elongated molecules that form equidistant layers. We will develop a theoretical and computational apparatus to describe the structure and dynamics of smectics subject to disordered environments and confinement by complex surfaces, an aspect that has attracted much recent attention in the area of liquid crystals. Our main goals focus on the study of geometric and topological defects by means of a detailed analysis of the interplay between the elastic energy, the intrinsic geometry of the surfaces and the extrinsic geometry of the substrates confining the liquid crystal. We also propose to develop a more comprehensive quantitative theory for the universal mechanical properties of disordered elastic systems near the onset of rigidity. In this part, our main goals focus on the analytical (by means of scaling and effective-medium theories) and numerical (by means of computer simulations) investigation of the role played by factors such as self-propulsion and correlated disorder in the design and mechanical behavior of diverse disordered elastic systems. Our proposal has considerable relevance to several systems in soft matter Physics, from smectics and colloidal gels to active materials. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
LIARTE, DANILO B.; THORNTON, STEPHEN J.; SCHWEN, ERIC; COHEN, ITAI; CHOWDHURY, DEBANJAN; SETHNA, JAMES P.. Universal scaling for disordered viscoelastic matter near the onset of rigidity. PHYSICAL REVIEW E, v. 106, n. 5, p. 7-pg., . (21/14285-3, 16/01343-7)
THORNTON, STEPHEN J.; LIARTE, DANILO B.; ABBAMONTE, PETER; SETHNA, JAMES P.; CHOWDHURY, DEBANJAN. Jamming and unusual charge density fluctuations of strange metals. NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, v. 14, n. 1, p. 6-pg., . (21/14285-3, 16/01343-7)
LIARTE, DANILO B.; PETRI, ALBERTO; SALINAS, SILVIO R.. Hard-Needle Elastomer in One Spatial Dimension. Brazilian Journal of Physics, v. 53, n. 3, p. 7-pg., . (22/09615-7, 21/14285-3)

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