The Cosmological Kibble Mechanism in the Laboratory: String Formation in Liquid Crystals

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Science  18 Feb 1994:
Vol. 263, Issue 5149, pp. 943-945
DOI: 10.1126/science.263.5149.943


The production of strings (disclination lines and loops) has been observed by means of the Kibble mechanism of domain (bubble) formation in the isotropic-nematic phase transition of the uniaxial nematic liquid crystal 4-cyano-4'-n-pentylbiphenyl. The number of strings formed per bubble is about 0.6. This value is in reasonable agreement with a numerical simulation of the experiment in which the Kibble mechanism is used for the order parameter space of a uniaxial nematic liquid crystal.