High-resolution three-dimensional imaging of topological textures in single-diamond networks

Kavli Affiliate: Ulrich B. Wiesner

| First 5 Authors: Dmitry Karpov, Kenza Djeghdi, Mirko Holler, S. Narjes Abdollahi, Karolina Godlewska

| Summary:

Highly periodic structures are often said to convey the beauty of nature.
However, most material properties are strongly influenced by the defects they
contain. On the mesoscopic scale, molecular self-assembly exemplifies this
interplay; thermodynamic principles determine short-range order, but long-range
order is mainly impeded by the kinetic history of the material and by thermal
fluctuations. For the development of self-assembly technologies, it is
imperative to characterise and understand the interplay between self-assembled
order and defect-induced disorder. Here we used synchrotron-based hard X-ray
nanotomography to reveal a pair of extended topological defects within a
self-assembled single-diamond network morphology. These defects are
morphologically similar to the comet and trefoil patterns of equal and opposite
half-integer topological charges observed in liquid crystals and appear to
maintain a constant separation across the thickness of the sample, resembling
pairs of full vortices in superconductors and other hard condensed matter
systems. These results are expected to open new windows to study defect
formation in soft condensed matter, particularly in biological systems where
most structures are formed by self-assembly.

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