Disclination lines are microscopic objects in nematic liquid crystals that mediate forces between dispersed objects and modify the optical response of the medium. These are interesting properties for the production of complex materials and micro devices. Colloidal particles are often introduced to nematic liquid crystals as a way of increasing the number of disclination lines. Colloidal dispersions in chiral nematics have been shown to undergo spontaneous entanglement to give complex disclination networks.
In this hot paper, scientists in Ljubljana study the stability of theoretically predicted tangles in chiral nematic cells. Colloidal dimers in π-twisted chiral nematic cells are used as a model system. The authors developed a method that uses an analytical approximation arrangement of the disclination and found that the stability of a structure results from the individual stability of each tangle.
Stability and rewiring of nematic braids in chiral nematic colloids
Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 8595. DOI: 10.1039/c2sm25952d (free to read for a short time)