University of Colorado, Boulder
Knots in Soft Matter
Topologically nontrivial fields and vortices frequently arise in classical and quantum field theories, plasmas, optics, cosmology, hard condensed matter and atomic systems. Their complex structures are expected to follow predictions of topological theorems and mathematical theories, such as the knot theory, but are rarely accessible to experiments. On the other hand, soft matter systems, such as colloids and liquid crystals, offer the complexity in degrees of freedom and symmetries that allow for probing topologically analogous phenomena on experimentally accessible scales. In my lecture, I will discuss how surfaces of colloidal knots and handlebodies interact with the liquid crystalline molecular alignment fields and how topological knot solitons can emerge as static field configurations within the chiral colloidal ferromagnets [1-5]. I will show how such synergistic combinations of topology and self-assembly paradigms can emerge as an exciting scientific frontier of topological soft matter.