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

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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 prime-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.

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