Topological structure and dynamics of three-dimensional active nematics

Guillaume Duclos, Thomas Powers, Aparna Baskaran, Zvonimir Dogic, Vincenzo Vitelli, Federico Toschi, Raymond Adkins, Debarghya Banerjee, Matthew Peterson, Minu Varghese, Itamar Kolvin, Robert Pelcovits, Sebastian Streichan, Daniel Beller, Arvind Baskaran, Michael Hagan, Matthew S. E. Peterson, Robert A. Pelcovits, Thomas R. Powers, Michael F. Hagan & Sebastian J. Streichan
Topological structures are effective descriptors of the nonequilibrium dynamics of diverse many-body systems. For example, motile, point-like topological defects capture the salient features of two-dimensional active liquid crystals composed of energy-consuming anisotropic units. We dispersed force-generating microtubule bundles in a passive colloidal liquid crystal to form a three-dimensional active nematic. Light-sheet microscopy revealed the temporal evolution of the millimeter-scale structure of these active nematics with single-bundle resolution. The primary topological excitations are extended, charge-neutral disclination...
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