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Topological structure and dynamics of three-dimensional active nematics

Cite this dataset

Duclos, Guillaume et al. (2020). Topological structure and dynamics of three-dimensional active nematics [Dataset]. Dryad.


Topological structures are effective descriptors of the nonequilibrium dynamics of diverse many-body systems. For example, motile, point-like topological defects capture the salient features of two-dimensional active liquid crystals composed of energy-consuming anisotropic units. We dispersed force-generating microtubule bundles in a passive colloidal liquid crystal to form a three-dimensional active nematic. Light-sheet microscopy revealed the temporal evolution of the millimeter-scale structure of these active nematics with single-bundle resolution. The primary topological excitations are extended, charge-neutral disclination loops that undergo complex dynamics and recombination events. Our work suggests a framework for analyzing the nonequilibrium dynamics of bulk anisotropic systems as diverse as driven complex fluids, active metamaterials, biological tissues, and collections of robots or organisms.

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To join the split files:

$ cat FiniteDifferenceData.part.* > FiniteDifferenceData.part.gz &
$ cat ExperimentalData.tar.part.* > ExperimentalData.tar.gz &


National Science Foundation, Award: 1855914

National Science Foundation, Award: MCB090163

National Science Foundation, Award: 1420382

National Science Foundation, Award: 1437195

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Award: 5R00HD088708-05

United States Department of Defense, Award: W911NF-19-1-0268

United States Department of Energy, Award: DE-SC0019733

International Human Frontier Science Program Organization, Award: LT001065/2017