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Résumé :   Nearly 40 years ago, in this building, de Gennes proposed a beautiful analogy between superconductors and a phase of matter consisting of parallel layers of molecules in space : the smectic liquid crystal. This analogy allows us to simultaneously understand the phases of both systems, and led, for instance, to the prediction and discovery of the TGB phase, the smectic analog of the Abrikosov flux line lattice. The precise mathematical analogy breaks down when the smectic crystal undergoes large distortions which necessitate the use of nonlinear elasticity. By recasting the problem of smectic configurations geometrically it is often possible to exploit toplogical information or, equivalently, boundary conditions, to confront these highly nonlinear problems. I will discuss our recent work on edge dislocations, disclination networks in three- dimensionally modulated smectic crystals, and large angle twist grain boundary phases. Fortuitously, it is possible to make intimate comparison with experimental systems !

 

Biographie :

 

Contact : Randall D. Kamien Vicki and William Abrams Professor in the Natural Sciences Physics and Astronomy University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia

http://www.physics.upenn.edu/ kamien/

 

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